Prosecutors ask judge to seal discovery documents in Tree of Life synagogue attack case

By Steve Pope | November 4, 2018

Federal prosecutors are requesting a judge to either seal all discovery documents, or require that they be redacted in any public filings in the case against alleged Tree of Life synagogue gunman Robert Bowers.

In their motion filed Friday, prosecutors say that only defense attorneys and Bowers should be permitted access to discovery materials, and that none of the documents are to remain in Bowers’s possession.

Prosecutors alleged in the filing that releasing information contained in some of the documents could lead to “unwanted contact with, and harassment of, victims and/or their surviving family members.”

Discovery is information, including documents, audio or video recordings, or other evidence gathered by investigators or prosecutors in a case.

“Because of the nature of the allegations in this case (in particular, that the defendant shot, killed and injured civilians and also shot and injured public safety officers) and due to the sensitive nature of much of the Rule 16 Materials [discovery], the government has significant concerns about the public release of Rule 16 discovery and other discovery into the community,” the document reads.

Prosecutors have also requested that documents that are referred to during court proceedings be redacted or sealed.

U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose has ordered defense attorneys to file a response no later than noon Monday.

Bowers faces a 44-count indictment for allegedly killing 11 people and wounding six others during an Oct. 27 attack at the Tree of Life synagogue.

Steve Pope can be contacted at

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