A federal judge denied a request by Fusion GPS, the Democrat consultant company at the heart of the faked “Trump dossier” controversy, to quash a subpoena for its bank records forcing the firm to hand over the records central to the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said the political research group’s case to prevent the committee from gaining access to the records failed to convince him that a restraining order and preliminary injunction should be issued, Fox News reported.
Fusion GPS attorney Theodore Boutrous Jr. said they would immediately appeal the judge’s ruling.
“Instead of focusing its efforts on Russian meddling in the presidential election, the Committee continues to misuse its investigatory power to punish and smear Fusion GPS for its role in uncovering troubling ties between Russia and the Trump campaign,” Boutrous said in a statement released on Thursday.
The House Intel Committee wants the records to see who paid for the faked “dossier” that purported to detail connections between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives before the 2016 election. Fusion GPS has already admitted that it commissioned the report written by British spy Christopher Steele.
Judge Leon issued a 26-page ruling denying Fusion GPS’s request to quash the demand for the records.
“Although the records sought by the Subpoena are sensitive in nature,” the judge wrote, “the nature of the records themselves, and the Committee’s procedures designed to ensure their confidentiality, more than adequately protect the sensitivity of that information.”
The judge also rejected Fusion GPS’s claims that releasing the records would violate their clients’ First Amendment rights.
“While the opposition research Fusion conducted on behalf of its clients may have been political in nature,” Leon added, “Fusion’s commercial relationship with those clients was not, and thus that relationship does not provide Fusion with some special First Amendment protection from subpoenas … the First Amendment is not a secrecy pact!”
BuzzFeed published the “dossier” in full after the election, but it was soon learned that neither the FBI nor the Justice Department was able to verify many of the assertions in the report.
The inability to verify any of the dossier’s allegations about collusion or conspiracy came during briefings with congressional staff, according to a November report by the Washington Examiner’s chief political correspondent, Byron York.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.