Court Rules CREW Entitled to Attorney Fees in DOJ Lawsuit for Missing Yoo Emails
Yesterday, District Court Judge James Boasberg ruled CREW is entitled to an award of attorney fees in CREW v. Dep’t of Justice (D.D.C.), CREW’s lawsuit seeking documents under the Freedom of Information Act related to the missing John Yoo emails. An internal DOJ investigation revealed most, if not all, Yoo emails were missing, which hampered DOJ’s investigation into the role Yoo and others played in drafting the so-called “torture memos” authorizing the use of “enhanced interrogation” such as waterboarding. DOJ argued CREW was not entitled to a fee award in part because the missing emails DOJ was able to locate and produce said nothing about Yoo’s substantive work at DOJ, and therefore did not benefit the public. Judge Boasberg disagreed, pointing out the lack of surviving substantive emails “sheds light on the extent to which email may have been purposefully destroyed.” The court also noted that because of CREW’s FOIA request and lawsuit, the public gained access to documents on an issue of public importance.