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US court turns down request for FBI, CIA, IRS to release documents on Tinubu


    The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has declined an application seeking to compel US law enforcement agencies to hasten the release of confidential information on Nigerias President Bola Tinubu. The judge, Beryl Howell, refused the application on Monday, Oct. 23. An American, Aaron Greenspan, had filed a suit in June under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) against the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, Department of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI), Internal Revenue Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In his complaint, Mr Greenspan accused top American law enforcement agencies of violating the FIOA by failing to release within the statutory time documents relating to purported federal investigations into President Tinubu and one Mueez Adegboyega Akande, who is now deceased. According to Mr Greenspan, the records being requested were from the Northern District of Illinois and/or Northern District of Indiana involving charging decisions against Messrs Tinubu and Akande. In 1993, Mr Tinubu was said to have forfeited $460,000 to the American government after authorities allegedly linked the funds to proceeds of narcotics trafficking. The issue of Mr Tinubus forfeiture of the funds came up at the Presidential Election Petition Court where Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi challenged Tinubus eligibility to contest Nigerias presidency. However, the PEP Court dismissed the suits on Sept. 6, affirming Mr Tinubus election. Ahead of the Supreme Courts hearing of Atiku Abubakars case against President Tinubus election on Monday, Oct. 23, in Abuja, Mr Greenspan had last Friday, Oct. 20, sought the US courts intervention to order the FBI, the CIA and others to fast-track the process of releasing the documents on the Nigerian leader. Court filings showed that the Executive Office of the United States Attorneys (EOUSA) had denied Mr Greenspans FOIA request invoking FOIA Exemptions 6 and 7(c), which protect information that would constitute unwarranted invasions of personal privacy and information compiled for law enforcement purposes that may constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of a third party. The judge, Beryl Howell, said Mr Greenspan did not meet the preconditions for granting his request. Plaintiff has failed even to attempt to argue how his request may overcome those exemptions and achieve a likelihood of success on the merits. This failure to address this important factor in his Emergency Motion weighs strongly in favour of denying his motion, Ms Howell said. The judge noted that Mr Greenspan must prove that irreparable injury is likely in the absence of an injunction, rather than a mere possibility. Howell added: Plaintiff falls far short of satisfying this standard. He has not supplied the court with any indication of a concrete, actual threat that he will suffer in the absence of an injunction. While his Emergency Motion states that a Nigerian Supreme Court hearing is scheduled to occur in the coming days, the plaintiff cites no injury he will suffer that is in any way traceable to the relief requested in this motion. The judge further explained that Mr Greenspans request may be of a highly sensitive and private nature and that the subject of those documents, Bola A. Tinubu, has had no opportunity to protect his privacy interests in any such records. Therefore, the balance of equities militates strongly in favour of denying this Emergency Motion. Ms Howell said there was no need to consider Mr Greenspans request for a hearing to discuss even the most remote possibility of documents being produced before October 31, 2023 [sic] chosen by defendants for themselves, For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED that the plaintiffs Emergency Motion for a Hearing to Compel Immediate Document Production, ECF No. 17 is DENIED. SO ORDERED, the judge said.

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