The FBI investigation centers on Wohl and Burkman’s February publication of confidential juror questionnaires for Trump associate Roger Stone. The FBI is investigating the couple for potential witness harassment, criminal contempt and obstruction of justice, according to the file.The case could mark more legal problems for the two, who have become notorious in politics for their quickly foiled ploys to smear Trump opponents with false allegations of sexual assault.In an email to the Daily Beast, Burkman said he was not aware of any FBI investigation. Wohl told the Daily Beast via text message that he was also unaware of the matter.
“I heard they were investigating us for the Kennedy assassination,” Wohl wrote sarcastically.
Stone’s legal team did not respond to a request for comment.
The Sept. 18 document, filed by eastern Pennsylvania district attorneys, seeks a court order requiring VoIP company HD Carrier LLC not to disclose the existence of a grand jury subpoena related to the FBI investigation.
The filing was first noticed by Offshore Alert, a website covering offshore banking services, after a publisher was able to quickly retrieve it from the US District Court website for the District of Columbia before let it be sealed. The document is no longer publicly available in the federal PACER court system, and a search of its file number reveals a sealed file.
“I’m in and out of PACER all day and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” David Marchant, editor-in-chief of Offshore Alert, told The Daily Beast. “I think the document was only available for a few minutes. ”
In late February, Wohl and Burkman held an impromptu press conference outside the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland to allege that the Stone jury, which convicted him of seven counts three months earlier, had a bias against him. As supposed evidence, Wohl and Burkman released confidential juror questionnaires, primarily focused on the juror media regime.
“On February 27, 2020, Burkman and his partner, Jacob Wohl, held a press conference during which they released copies of the jurors’ questionnaires,” the file read. “During this press conference, Burkman and Wohl did not provide how they obtained the court documents except to say that neither Roger Stone nor Stone’s legal team provided them.
The court record also notes that Burkman posted some of the confidential questionnaires on Twitter.
“On or about February 20, 2020, John M. Burkman, Jr. (a / k / a Jack Burkman) posted via his Twitter account (@Jack_Burkman) a sample of juror questionnaires completed by jurors in the case US v. Roger Stone, ”reads the file. Continuing on or around February 20, 2020, a series of tweets were sent from the @Jack_Burkman Twitter account, containing additional confidential questionnaires for jurors and derogatory characterizations about the jurors themselves. Burkman also claimed to have a transcript of Steve Bannon’s grand jury testimony.
These actions could potentially qualify as crimes, prosecutors said.
“Based on the above facts, the FBI believes that Burkman and Wohl may have been engaged in an attempt to influence or injure jurors, as well as tamper with potential witnesses in court,” read the report. folder. “As part of its ongoing investigation, [the] The FBI is working to determine who Wohl was in contact with at the time of jury selection to help determine the possible vector through which Wohl and / or Burkman obtained the jurors’ questionnaires.
The HD Carrier subpoena relates to a series of phone numbers that Burkman contacted before the questionnaires were released, according to the filing. HD Carrier provides phone numbers for teleconferencing companies and other businesses that use temporary phone numbers, suggesting that the phone numbers were only used briefly by people with whom Burkman was in contact. The court record notes that Burkman contacted the phone numbers at the time of the questionnaire’s release, according to a law enforcement review of his call tapes.
Prosecutors’ case calls for a court order requiring the summons to remain secret in part because the investigation is expected to last at least a year.
“Given the complex nature of the criminal activity being investigated and the likely involvement of co-conspirators and evidence, and also given that the criminal justice system may be ongoing, the government expects this confidential investigation to continue for next year or more, ”the file said. .
The record also notes that early disclosure of the investigation could prompt the targets of the investigation to engage in “evasion of prosecution, destruction or falsification of evidence, intimidation of potential witnesses or any other threat. in serious danger of this investigation ”.
“Disclosure may reveal the existence, scope and direction of the government’s ongoing and confidential investigation,” the file said. “Once alerted to this investigation, potential targets could be immediately called upon to destroy or conceal incriminating evidence, change their operational tactics to avoid future detection, and take action to undermine the investigation and avoid future prosecution. In particular, given that they are known to use remote electronic communication and computing services, the potential target (s) could quickly and easily destroy or encrypt digital evidence relating to their criminal activity. ”
As the grand jury investigating the case is formed in Washington, DC, according to the record, the request for a court order is signed by William M. McSwain, the US attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, as well as two attorneys. American assistants. in this office.
It’s unclear why Pennsylvania prosecutors are handling a case in Washington, and McSwain’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
But McSwain’s file notes that he operates under the US Code § 515, a legal provision for “special advocates” that allows prosecutors appointed by the United States Attorney General or another Department of Justice official to operate outside. of their usual jurisdictions. The two deputy US attorneys in the Wohl-Burkman case signed the document as “special prosecutor to the United States attorney general.”
In 2019, McSwain made headlines for accusing Democratic billionaire George Soros of wanting to “carry out his radical agenda.”
While the FBI investigation and the grand jury summons could portend new legal issues, these aren’t the only issues for the pair. Wohl has been charged with two counts in California for alleged violations of securities law, while the Michigan Attorney General is investigating a racist voter suppression robocall that claimed to be from Wohl and Burkman. The duo denied being behind the automatic call.