The U.S. Supreme Court declined today to side with a foreign company that sought to block a subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s federal grand jury.
The company hasn’t been named in any court documents, but it is reportedly owned by a foreign government.
The ruling could pave the way for it to be identified in court documents.
The identity of the firm and the foreign country at issue remain a mystery, but POLITICO first reported earlier this year that the dispute appeared to involve Mueller’s prosecutors.
A POLITICO reporter stationed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals clerk’s office in October heard a person connected to the appeal request a copy of the special counsel’s latest filing in the case.
When the case was argued at the D.C. Circuit earlier this month, the courtroom was closed to the public.
Court personnel went to unusual lengths to preserve the secrecy, ordering journalists to leave the floor where lawyers were presenting their position.
The public docket in the appeal offers only modest detail about the dispute, containing no identification of the parties or their lawyers.
Roberts temporarily blocked the subpoena in December, forcing Mueller’s team to explain why the government is investigating a foreign-backed corporate entity whose government has been trying hard to avoid cooperating.
Prosecutors filed a brief just before New Year’s Eve explaining their position.
The Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit had ruled that the company was required to obey the subpoena.
Roberts referred the case to the full Supreme Court, which dropped his intervention today.
The case is unusual since the unnamed country involved has gone to great lengths to fight Mueller’s demands,leading to speculation that it has something to hide in his wide-ranging Russia probe.
In its arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court, the company unsuccessfully argued that complying with the subpoena would be a violation of its home country’s laws.
Its challenge to Mueller’s authority was the first such motion to reach the Supreme Court.
Mueller has already indicted three Russian companies and 25 Russians for their alleged contributions to a social media propaganda scheme meant to influence American voters, and to computer hacking that targeted the Democratic National Committee.