From top: Former Irish swimming coach George Gibney; US journalist Irvin Muchnick
You may recall how American journalist Irvin Muchnick has been trying, via Freedom of Information requests, to obtain 20 documents, or 43 pages, of former Irish swimming coach George Gibney’s US immigration file.
All previous requests yielded only parts of this file with some pages redacted.
Gibney was charged with 27 counts of indecency against young swimmers and of carnal knowledge of girls under the age of 15 in April, 1993 – but sought and won a High Court judicial review in 1994 that quashed all the charges against him.
The judicial review was secured following a landmark Supreme Court decision – after which Gibney left Ireland for Scotland and then Florida.
On November 2, after US District Court Judge Charles Breyer reviewed the 20 documents in camera, he said he was “prepared to rule (largely) in Muchnick’s favour”.
At that time, he forwarded to the US federal government, suggestions on redactions that should be reversed – and set a 30-deadilne for Mr Muchnick and the federal government to work out an agreement around the court’s tentative order.
That deadline was yesterday.
Further to this…
Mr Muchnick writes:
The federal government has told US District Court Judge Charles Breyer that it decided not to take up his recommendation, in a November 2 “tentative order,” to release particular portions of the 43 pages of George Gibney’s immigration records that remain in dispute in Concussion Inc.’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security.
In a joint response filed today by the US attorney’s office and my attorney Roy Gordet, the judge was asked for the final and binding order that he had said he was prepared to issue if the tentative order did not succeed in resolving the case. The government said it “will decide how to proceed after reviewing the final order.”
If Judge Breyer proceeds as expected with the final ruling, which the opinion accompanying the tentative order had said would be “(largely) in Muchnick’s favour,” then there are two possible outcomes.
One possibility is that US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency under Homeland Security, will release the records as advised by the court.
The other possibility is that the government will decide to appeal the ruling against it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Read the joint response in full here
Previously: George Gibney on Broadsheet