For Immediate Release
CREW Wins Right To Depose Cheney Deputy Chief of Staff
WASHINGTON - Today, in CREW et al. v. Cheney, et al., the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion denying in large part the mandamus petition filed by Vice President Cheney that sought to block all discovery in CREW's lawsuit against the vice president, the Office of the Vice President (OVP), and the archivist based on the Vice President's unlawfully narrow construction of his document preservation obligations under the Presidential Records Act. The vice president filed the mandamus petition after the district court ruled that CREW could depose vice presidential chief of staff David Addington and a NARA official and asked the Court of Appeals to bar all discovery and permit the administration instead to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety. The D.C. Circuit deferred to the district court's judgment that discovery is necessary to resolve factual issues, ruling that the authorized discovery is "appropriately narrow" except to the extent it authorized CREW to take the deposition of David Addington. Finding that Mr. Addington "has no apparent involvement" in the lawsuit, the D.C. Circuit ruled that CREW should instead depose OVP official Claire O'Donnell, who has submitted multiple declarations in the litigation.
Anne Weismann, CREW's chief counsel, stated "Today's decision, allowing CREW discovery in our case against the Office of the Vice President, moves us one step closer to ensuring that important historical documents will not be lost to future generations. CREW looks forward to deposing Cheney's Deputy Chief of Staff Claire O'Donnell to get to the bottom of what exactly the administration has been doing with documents that belong not to the vice president, but to the American people."