Court Allows Examination of Hard Drive and Servers

Alexander v. FBI., 186 F.R.D. 78 (D.D.C. 1998)

Former government official involved in the “Filegate” investigation testified in deposition that he deleted material from his computer when he changed positions within his department. The court noted that, despite official’s claims that he printed out relevant material before deleting it, “cause for concern should exist when an upper-level government employee completely deletes his hard drive when this hard drive may have information relevant to an on-going criminal investigation, let alone the instant case.” 186 F.R.D. at 96.

The court found the official’s acts to be “highly unusual and suspect,” and ordered an examination of the official’s hard drive and server. Id. It ordered the government to compare documents retrieved against those already produced to determine whether there were any discrepancies between the two sets. In the case of any discrepancy, the documents were to be delivered to the court for an in camera inspection and further consideration.

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