Case l:17-cr-00182-RDM Documents Filed 07/28/17 Page 1 of 3
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT FOR COLUMBIA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA I
JUL 2 8 2017
Clerk, U.S. District & Bankruptcy
Courts for the District of Columbia
Criminal No. l:17-mj-53ffj
UNITED STATES’ MOTION TO SEAL ALL FILINGS ASSOCIATED WITH THE
The United States, by and through undersigned counsel, asks for an Order sealing the
criminal complaint and all filings associated with the complaint, including the docket in this
matter, this Motion to Seal, and the proposed Order, until the United States makes a motion to
unseal, except as necessary to conduct the defendant’s initial appearance.
I. Reasons for Sealing the Complaint and Associated Documents
1. The Court has the inherent power to seal court filings when appropriate, including the
complaint. See United States v. Hubbard, 650 F.2d 293, 315-16 (D.C. Cir. 1980) (citing Nixon v.
Warner Communications, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 598 (1978)). The Court may also seal the complaint
to prevent serious jeopardy to an ongoing criminal investigation when, as in the present case, such
jeopardy creates a compelling governmental interest in preserving the confidentiality of the
Complaint. See Washington Post v. Robinson, 935 F.2d 282, 287-89 (D.C. Cir. 1991). In this case,
sealing is necessary to avoid possible material prejudice to the ongoing investigation.
2. Defendant Papadopoulos served as a foreign policy advisor for ihe presidential
campaign of Donald J. Trump starting no later than on or about March 16, 2016, and continuing
through most of that campaign. On July 27, 2017, the defendant was arrested when he landed at
Washington Dulles International Airport on a flight from Munich, Germany. He has been charged
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Case l:17-cr-00182-RDM Document 3 Filed 07/28/17 Page 2 of 3
in a criminal complaint filed in this Court with making false statements to agents of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001; and altering or concealing records, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519. The charges are based on actions that the defendant took during
and after law enforcement interviews with him as part of an investigation into the Russian
government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. On the morning of July 28,
2017, the Court granted an oral motion to seal these documents. Cf Local Criminal Rule 49(e)(4)
(providing that “the filing of every . . . document [prior to the initial appearance of a criminal
defendant] under seal shall not require a motion to seal”). The Government now moves for an
equivalent written order.
3. Premature disclosure of the fact of the defendant’s arrest and the nature of the
charges against him is likely to substantially prejudice both the defendant and the government.
Defendant has indicated that he is willing to cooperate with the government in its ongoing
investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Public disclosure
of the defendant’s initial appearance, however, would significantly undermine his ability to serve
as a proactive cooperator. In addition, public disclosure of defendant’s arrest and the
accompanying criminal charges may alert other subjects to the direction and status of the
investigation. Once alerted to this development, potential targets may be prompted to destroy or
conceal incriminating evidence, including evidence that the government may be pursuing
imminently pursuant to judicial authorization.
4. The United States has considered alternatives less restrictive than sealing,
including, for example, the possibility of redactions, and has determined that none would suffice
to avoid potential material prejudice to this investigation.
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II. Period of Time That the Government Seeks To Have Matter Remain
5. The government requests that the criminal complaint materials remain sealed until
the need to maintain the confidentiality of these materials expires, after which time the United
States will move to unseal the materials. The government will promptly advise the Court if it is
determined that sealing is no longer required to protect the interests at stake here.
6. Notwithstanding this motion to seal, the United States requests authorization to
provide copies as necessary to conduct defendant’s initial appearance.
WHEREFORE, the United States respectfully requests that the criminal complaint and all
related filings, including the docket in this matter and this Motion to Seal and proposed Order, be
sealed until further Order of the Court.
Date: July 28, 2017
Robert S. Mueller, III
By: /s/ _
Aaron S.J. Zelinsky
Assistant Special Counsel
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