Last night Attorney Jason Flores-Williams informed me and other interested parties of the demise of the motion to quash the US government subpoena for the Project PM site information, brought by Sebastiaan Provost, the website’s administrator. The prosecution in the case against journalist Barrett Brown, the Project’s founder currently in federal detention in Texas for charges of threatening an FBI agent and numerous computer-related crimes stemming from the theft and release of intelligence vendor Stratfor’s emails, issued a response wholesale disregarding the motion’s validity.
While the judge in the case had given leave for Mr. Provost to reply to the prosecution’s arguments (hopeful, as Flores-Williams indicated, if the judge was going to dismiss the motion he would have done so outright) that he had no standing and further that the entirety of the motion to quash was fatally flawed in form and intent, he chose to end his involvement with no explanation of which this writer is aware.
Flores-Williams is no longer involved in the case, though he expressed his further willingness to help and earnest interest in the outcome of Brown’s case. He left the email’s recipients with a thought, which I’m taking perhaps a liberty, but I believe a warranted one, in reproducing:
So, here is the never made painting, never written book, never filed reply–which would have sought to newly define what a journalist is in this country and therefore enlarge first amendment protections from a mere class of people to any person democratically engaged in the activity of journalism. And here is the order that won’t ever come to be.
ORDER granting non-party Sebastiaan Provost’s  Motion for Leave to Reply as to Barrett Lancaster Brown. Sebastiaan Provost may file a reply to the government’s Motion to Dismiss Motion to Intervene and Quash Subpoena by 4/29/2013. (Ordered by Judge Sam A Lindsay on 4/17/2013) (ctf)
What we can take from this, on the positive side, is that this can be done. The judge was listening. If you are a journalist, freedom fighter or internet activist: then we can challenge the government in the courts!
And we damn well might have won it.
Case timeline: 1)Contacted by client two days before Cloudflare was to comply with subpoena. 2)Emergently contacted Cloudflare and got them to agree to give us time to challenge. 3)Wrote and filed motion in a three day period. 4)Overcame government challenge to pro hac vice status. 4)Government files response. 5)We file Motion for leave to reply. 6)Court grants Motion for Leave to Reply. 7)Client instructs us to drop motion.
Jason Flores-Williams, Esq