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Report: Sun-Times defied federal judge in publishing Solis info

Monday, Feb 4, 2019

* So, how did the Sun-Times obtain the explosive 2016 FBI affidavit that was used to obtain a federal search warrant on Chicago Ald. Danny Solis? Greg Hinz has the deets

But somehow, the [affidavit] was openly posted on the court’s document website, known as Pacer. In other words, the entire document was inadvertently made public for the world to read. And either because of smart reporting or a tip from someone—or both—the Sun-Times quickly downloaded the search warrant, and proceeded to go to town on what would become one of the best stories in Chicago media in years.

None of that sat well with Magistrate Judge Young B. Kim, who court records indicate has been presiding over the Solis matter.

According to my sources, Kim re-closed the affidavit, and ordered the Sun-Times not to print what was in it, presumably on grounds that premature publicity could undermine what appears to be an extremely wide-ranging federal probe into City Hall that has been underway for four years or longer.

Knowledgeable sources also say that Kim’s order came despite sentiment within the U.S. attorney’s office here that a ban on publication, known as prior restraint, would be on shaky legal ground and likely inconsistent with past U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the famed Pentagon Papers and other cases.

But the Sun-Times went ahead. Whether Kim will take further action is not known.

Nobody is responding to requests for comment. I asked a couple of top people at the Sun-Times about this last week and they either didn’t respond or said they weren’t aware of the issue.

Either way, good for the Sun-Times to not let a federal judge push it around.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments »
  1. - The Captain - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 2:08 pm:

    The Sun-Times has been killing it lately. Good for them.


  2. - OneMan - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    Almost wonder if the Sun-Times got tipped if it was by someone who wanted to warn people about Solis


  3. - TopHatMonocle - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    Judge: Don’t report anything you just read.

    Sun Times: [reporting intensifies]


  4. - Annonin' - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 2:21 pm:

    Does this explain why S-T did not post a link to the affidavit thus forcing other to publish these Alice in Wonderland stories. Or a 5 year venture with ____(fill in the blank on crime of the century type offenses)


  5. - 19th ward guy - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 2:24 pm:

    And then they took the information that they knew was published by mistake and used for a misleading front page headline, picture and all, regarding the Speaker of the House.. Maybe the judge was right?


  6. - Rutro - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 2:26 pm:

    Judge Kim, do better.


  7. - Responsa - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 2:32 pm:

    Mistakes were made? Nah. I suspect intentional skullduggery by somebody who wanted to tip off somebody. :)


  8. - Rail Splitter - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 2:45 pm:

    Oh please, dear? For your information, the Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint.
    -Walter Sobchak


  9. - JoanP - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    =Kim re-closed the affidavit, and ordered the Sun-Times not to print what was in it=

    Somebody needs to go read New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971)


  10. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 2:58 pm:

    Right, telling someone to un-see what they have already seen always works. This happened recently with a state grant decision. Once the scoring was made available it became clear that the process was fatally flawed. But what did the state worker demand- don’t look at the scoring and send the file right back to us. Wanna guess if that happened?


  11. - Cubs in '16 - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 3:16 pm:

    A four-plus year FBI investigation potentially compromised because of a clerical error–oops. If you’re gonna make a mistake, might as well go big.


  12. - Perrid - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 3:20 pm:

    NeverPoliticallyCorrect, do you see a difference between the people who made the bad/unethical decision trying to cover it up, and the people prosecuting the bad actors trying to catch all of the bad actors? Because it is there. Same to the argument about the Pentagon Papers; that was the government trying to cover up decisions it had made, it wasn’t a prosecutor trying to protect an ongoing investigation.

    That being said, I’m not sure what damage to the case there could have been, Solis had already been burned as an informant (unless I have my timeline confused?). And then you have slippery slopes and all that, so I’m certainly not mad at the Sun Times for this.


  13. - Leave a light on George - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 3:59 pm:

    Sun Times forces Burke to be brought to heel prematurely.

    Blago arrested before his time because the Tribune was going to publish that the fed’s had his offices and phones wired for sound.

    Damn free press.


  14. - Not It - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 4:00 pm:

    I’m not sure we should be cheering a newspaper for disrupting an investigation into political corruption. What would have happened if a paper released that Blagojevich was under investigation, and phones tapped, months before he was arrested?


  15. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 4:03 pm:

    ===months before he was arrested===

    Change that to “days before” and it happened.


  16. - Steve - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    When the decision was made to raid City Hall: a significant part of the investigation was over. Why? Probably because certain people were no longer talking dirty on the phone because they were tipped off and feds realized listening to phones calls was providing no benefits. That’s the real end of the undercover investigation.


  17. - Twirling Towards Freedom - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 4:29 pm:

    I would question whether the judge had jurisdiction over the Sun Times to order them to do or not do anything. Typically a judge can’t apply orders to parties that haven’t been served and haven’t submitted to the jurisdiction of the court.


  18. - Driveby - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 4:34 pm:

    Rich, why do you think the Sun-Times should be complimented on this if, as is probably true, the Feds thought it might jeopardize the rest of the investigation? I get the prior restraint issue, but that’s about their right to publish it, not about whether it was the right thing to do.


  19. - Steve - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 4:34 pm:

    The Chicago Sun-Times has made a decision and it’s hard to argue with them. There’s already very revealing information based on the federal search warrant of Alderman Burke’s office. The federal laws cited in the search warrant are:

    1) Title 18 U.S. Code Section 666 .Theft or bribery concerning programs receiving Federal funds
    2) Title 18 U.S. Code § 1343 . Fraud by wire, radio, or television
    3) Title 18 U.S. Code § 1349 . Attempt and conspiracy
    4)Title 18 U.S. Code § 1951. Interference with commerce by threats or violence
    5) Title 18 U.S. Code § 1952. Interstate and foreign travel or transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises
    6)Title 18 U.S. Code § 371. Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States

    The media hasn’t made a big issue of it. But, it’s there for anyone to look at.
    https://nalert.blogspot.com/2019/02/federal-laws-cited-in-alderman-ed-burke_3.html


  20. - Smitty Irving - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 4:35 pm:

    Cubs in ‘16 -
    Ever hear of Bob Sabonjian?


  21. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 4:36 pm:

    ======months before he was arrested======
    ===Change that to “days before” and it happened.===

    That’s…. the….. point….


  22. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 4:38 pm:

    “When the decision was made to raid City Hall: a significant part of the investigation was over. Why? Probably because certain people were no longer talking dirty on the phone because they were tipped off and feds realized listening to phones calls was providing no benefits. That’s the real end of the undercover investigation.”

    Precisely right. This was no longer a secret. The only thing that was still secret were the details of Solis corruption and sexual peccadilloes. And those are clearly not compromising to the investigation. Rock on Sun-Times.

    BTW, a very similar thing happened in the Trump Russia probe recently when Manafort’s lawyers filed a redacted document but forgot to secure the redaction so everything in that filing was exposed to the public.


  23. - Not It - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 4:43 pm:

    ===Change that to “days before” and it happened.===

    That proves my point exactly. If it was revealed that his calls were being recorded by the feds in the Spring they wouldn’t have caught his illegal behavior later that Fall, and he probably wouldn’t have been arrested.


  24. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 4:43 pm:

    ===the Feds thought===

    One judge does not equal the feds.


  25. - Anon E Moose - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 4:44 pm:

    If this is accurate, where is the Judge’s order? Haven’t seen that or the affidavit itself.


  26. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 4:45 pm:

    === If===

    Such a big word.


  27. - Anon E Moose - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 4:51 pm:

    Right? A judge sealing things on the docket is not usual. Judge Kennelly just did that with the depositions in the Gonzalez v. Madigan case. But a judge ordering a newspaper not to publish something that was accidentally filed on the public docket … is something else.


  28. - Shemp - Monday, Feb 4, 19 @ 5:08 pm:

    Acknowledging the right to publish, but was it right to publish?

    Eye-opening, and the public has a right to know, at some point. You just never know if something even larger was brewing and now is lost or a case is compromised.


  29. - NorthsideNoMore - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 7:11 am:

    Wondering since the courts have been so politicized of late (snark) who appointed said judge?


  30. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 7:35 am:

    It had a right to publish AND was right to publish, people.

    The S-T’s job is not to be a handmaiden to the FBI or U.S. district attorney’s office or any other government entity. They are members of the Fourth Estate of our democracy with their own independent role to play in reporting about public corruption.

    The S-T’s job is to inform the citizenry about what public officials are up to. This is especially crucial going into the municipal election.

    Although I no longer live in Chicago they have earned a new digital subscription out of me. I hope others reading and following this subscribe too.


  31. - Heidi - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 1:46 am:

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