A prominent Washington businessman who is caught up in the ongoing federal investigation of corruption in the 2010 mayoral campaign has taken his fight against prosecutors to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The government last year seized more than 23 million pages of documents from Jeffrey Thompson, and ever since his lawyers have fought over whether prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia should be forced to return some of the property.
Thompson's lawyers at Williams & Connolly argue that prosecutors shouldn't be allowed to keep attorney-client protected documents and information that's outside the scope of the warrants. The defense lawyers—the team includes Brendan Sullivan Jr.—lost in the trial court and in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In April, the appeals court declined to rehear the case.
The Supreme Court on Monday approved the filing of a public, redacted petition for review. The justices have not asked the Justice Department for a response to the petition.
Thompson, who operated a health care company, contends he is asking for the return of documents, not for the suppression of evidence at a later hearing or trial, his lawyers said in their petition.
The attorneys, who also include Tobin Romero, Alex Romain and James McDonald, said Thompson's request for the return of property would have been satisfied in three other appellate courts.
"This conflict among the courts of appeals on a question of federal jurisdiction warrants this Court's review," Thompson's lawyers wrote in their petition.
Thompson's lawyers said the "vast majority" of the documents the government seized "relate to confidential client matters."
Thompson has not been charged with a crime. His lawyers sought to file the petition in the high court under seal because, they wrote, the dispute "relates to an ongoing criminal investigation, for which a grand jury has been impaneled." The investigation, led by U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr., has generated guilty pleas in a number of cases.
Prosecutors are examining Thompson in connection with a $650,000 "shadow campaign" that supported Mayor Vincent Gray, who prevailed in the 2010 election. The Washington Post reported in September that prosecutors have expanded their probe of Thompson to include looking at his financing of Hillary Clinton's presidential bid in 2008.