HABASHI et al v. BUSH et al
ORDER vacating March 18, 2009 Order to Show Cause. The show cause hearing scheduled for May 11, 2009 is canceled. Signed by Judge Thomas F. Hogan on 5/06/09. (lctfh1)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
IN RE: Misc. No. 08-0442 (TFH) GUANTANAMO BAY DETAINEE LITIGATION
BENJAMIN MOHAMMED AL HABASHI, Petitioner, v. BARACK OBAMA, et al., Respondents. Civil Action No. 05-0765 (EGS)
ORDER On February 26, 2009, the Court received a report from the Privilege Team describing alleged "unprofessional" conduct by Ahmed Ghappour and Clive A. Stafford Smith, counsel for Petitioner Benjamin Mohammed Al Habashi (Binyam Mohamed). See Privilege Team Repor t (Dkt. No. 115, 05-cv-2349). The Privilege Team accused Mr. Ghappour and Mr. Smith of making "inappropriate use of the Privilege Team for purposes not authorized by the pr otective order entered in [05-cv-2349]." Id. at 1. The report was filed in Civil Action No. 05-2349 (RMC). In that civil action, which is before Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, the oper ative protective order is the Court's Protective Order and Procedures for Counsel Access to Detainees at the United States Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Dkt. No. 409, 08-mc-0442) (Sept. 11, 2008) ("Protective Order"). Mr. Ghappour and Mr. Smith filed a r esponse on March 5, 2009, disputing the Privilege Team's allegations. The parties appeared
to disagree on the meaning of provisions within Court's Protective Order and the purpose of the Privilege Team. On March 18, 2009, the Court ordered Mr. Ghappour and Mr. Smith to "appear for a hearing for the purpose of showing cause why this Court should not hold them in contempt for violating the Protective Order." Order to Show Cause (Dkt. No. 1700, 08-mc0442). The Privilege Team has subsequently indicated that their report should have been filed in Civil Action No. 05-0765 (EGS). The Court was informed on the morning of May 6, 2009, that in Civil Action No. 05-0765, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has not adopted the Court's Protective Order. The operative protective order in that case is the Amended Protective Order and Procedures for Counsel Access to Detainees at the United States Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, first issued on November 8, 2004, as amended by the Order Addr essing Designation Procedures for Protected Information, first issued on November 10, 2004, and by the Order Supplementing and Amending Filing Procedures Contained in the November 8, 2004, Amended Protective Order, first issued on December 13, 2004. See Order (Dkt. No. 56, 05-cv-0765) (July 31, 2008). On April 23, 2009, Mr. Ghappour and Mr. Smith filed a Motion to Discharge the Court's Order to Show Cause (Dkt. No. 1741, 08-mc-0442). According to the motion, Mr. Ghappour and Mr. Smith appear to now understand and accept that the Privilege Team (i) is not authorized to process communications by counsel to parties who do not share an attorneyclient relationship with their client and (ii) cannot declassify information that has been designated as classified by other entities of the United States government. See Mot. to Dischar ge at 2. The Privilege Team "takes no position" on the motion. Id. at 3.
It is unclear if Mr. Ghappour and Mr. Smith have sufficiently addressed the concerns r aised by the Privilege Team. Nevertheless, in light of the fact that the operative protective or der in this case is not this Court's Protective Order, the Privilege Team's report should be dir ected to Judge Sullivan. The Court therefore ORDERS that the Court's March 18, 2009 Order to Show Cause is VACATED. Accordingly, the Motion to Discharge the Court's Order to Show Cause is DENIED AS MOOT. The Court refers this matter to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.
May 6, 2009
/s/ Thomas F. Hogan United States District Judge
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