Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Butina’s lawyers given go-ahead to subpoena for student records

New subpoena expected to be issued in mid-November

Butina’s lawyers given go-ahead to subpoena for student records

Maria Butina, pictured in 2014, is charged with acting as a Russian agent. 

The defense team of Maria Butina, a gun rights activist and American University graduate charged with acting as a Russian agent, was given the go-ahead to subpoena the University a second time for the student’s records on Oct. 31.

After the initial subpoena was quashed, or thrown out, in early October for failing to comply with procedural requirements, the defense requested the same records a second time.

The University was asked to hand over all of the class rosters of the graduate student from Butina’s time at AU. Students named in those documents received notice of the subpoena from AU’s general counsel. Several of those students objected to the request, filing motions to have it quashed.

In the motion filed by AU students, the former classmates said the defense had “not shown good cause for the requested information” and that “compliance with the subpoena would be unreasonable and oppressive.”

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan asked Butina’s defense team on Sept. 21 to “show cause” why she should not reject the first subpoena, according to the Courthouse News Service. The subpoena was issued without prior judicial approval.

The timeline of events is below:

  • Sept. 11: First subpoena issued to American University requesting class rosters
  • Oct. 5: Subpoena quashed because of student opposition
  • Oct 12: Second subpoena submitted to judge with slight changes
  • Oct. 31: Judge rules it can be issued
  • Nov. 14-16: New subpoena expected to be issued
  • Dec. 17: AU required to comply with subpoena

Butina’s attorneys are required to meet with the judge to discuss a protective order for how the documents will be handled. The new subpoena is expected to be issued sometime between Nov. 14 and Nov. 16.

The new order requires AU to comply with the subpoena by Dec. 17 and to redact any information “beyond persons’ names and photographs” in the documents, according to the Courthouse News Service.

Kris Schneider contributed reporting to this article.

bcrummy@theeagleonline.com


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