Robert Mueller appeared to score a victory last week when a federal appeals court ruled that a foreign company must comply with a subpoena that seems to have been issued by the special counsel. But on Monday, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts halted the subpoena in order to give the full court an opportunity to review the matter.

The Justice Department had requested certain information from this company regarding its commercial presence in a criminal investigation, a request the courts have upheld. A three-page opinion from Judges Thomas Griffith, David Tatel and Stephen Williams describes their decision, detailing how the company’s claim that a 1977 law that helps shield foreign countries from being sued in United States courts is invalid. It also refutes the company’s claim that following the subpoena would violate the laws of its home country.


The judges presiding over the case noted how prosecutors have “reasonable probability” that while the information they’re seeking pertains to actions that transpired outside the United States, said actions directly affected the country. It also was hinted at that the company might be fined for every day it does not comply with the subpoena.


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Despite the ruling, a strong degree of secrecy still lingers over the case; the company’s identity and the manner of its work is left unstated, nor does the opinion ever reference Mueller or his team by name. Moreover, public access to the hearings was not allowed, meaning the media was unable to identify any of the lawyers working on the case. Very little information regarding the case has been released to the public as well.

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