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The Integrity Commission of Trinidad and Tobago v. Google Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

August 14, 2014

THE INTEGRITY COMMISSION OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, a Public Authority, Applicant,
v.
GOOGLE INC., Respondent.

ORDER GRANTING APPLICATION FOR SUBPOENA Re: Dkt. No. 1

WILLIAM H. ORRICK, District Judge.

On August 11, 2014, The Integrity Commission of Trinidad and Tobago ("the Commission") requested the Court's assistance, under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1782, in issuing a subpoena to Google Inc. The subpoena seeks information for the email accounts "anand@gmail.com, " "anand@tstt.net.tt, " and "kamlapb1@gmail.com, " which the Commission represents is relevant to a criminal investigation into possible governmental corruption. Because the application meets both the statutory requirements and discretionary factors I must consider in deciding whether to grant it, the application is GRANTED.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The Commission has not submitted a declaration establishing the facts that are allegedly the basis for the application. Regardless, the application asserts the following facts:

The Commission is an independent organization established under the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago and is tasked with monitoring public officials. The Commission has compulsory investigative authority and may refer potential misconduct for prosecution.

On May 20, 2013, Dr. Keith Rowley, the opposition leader in the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, presented a series of emails from September 2012 to the Parliament that he alleged implicated Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissesar, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Local Government Minister Suruj Rambachan, and security advisor Gary Griffith with (i) a conspiracy against the Director of Public Prosecutions, the media, and the judiciary; (ii) the payment of money in return for the freedom of an unnamed person; and (iii) a cover-up of these activities. The emails come from the following accounts: anan@gmail.com[1]; anand@tstt.net.tt; surujrambachan@hotmail.com; captaingarygriffith@hotmail.com; and kamlapb1@gmail.com.

Rowley claims that these emails were produced by an unnamed whistleblower and presented them in hardcopy format. The emails appear to have been copied and pasted into a word processing program, not printed directly from an online email program. Rowley called for an investigation into the information revealed in the emails, and the police and the Commission have, separately, been pursuing an investigation into the emails.

Bissessar has not confirmed that any of the email addresses belongs to her.

Ramlogan denies that he has a Gmail account, but has consented to search of his email account at anand@tstt.net.tt, which is controlled by Google. The Commission has requested the information from Google, but has not received anything yet.

Rambachan and Griffith have confirmed that the Hotmail accounts belong to them and have authorized Microsoft to release information to the Commission.

DISCUSSION

Section 1782(a) of Title 28 of the United States Code provides:

The district court of the district in which a person resides or is found may order him to give his testimony or statement or to produce a document or other thing for use in a proceeding in a foreign or international tribunal, including criminal investigations conducted before formal accusation. The order may be made pursuant to a letter rogatory issued, or request made, by a foreign or international tribunal or upon the application of any interested person and may direct that the testimony or statement be given, or the document or other thing be produced, before a person appointed by the court.

The statute therefore authorizes a court to compel testimony or production by (i) a "person" within the court's district (ii) upon application by "any interested person" (iii) where the information is sought in connection with "a proceeding in a foreign or international ...


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