If you were, or are, an ediscovery practitioner involved with legal issues, you likely ponder about ediscovery implications of particular cases. For example, how about any ediscovery implications involved with United States v. A&L Mayer Associates, Inc. (Cr. 96-232)?
Talk about some scintillating ediscovery reading! Sure thing, if you’re interested in Tampico fiber (whatever the heck that is) and/or efforts to fix prices of Tampico fiber imported for sale into the U.S. Anyway, that case has long since been settled and the best-selling novel and follow-up Hollywood blockbuster are still awaiting the brilliant mind of a writer who can succinctly capture the myriad salacious details and Tampico plot twists uncovered during that case’s ediscovery.
If your response is “Right, yawn….” then I want to read, or ediscover, what you’ve been reading of late. Theoretically, the Ghislaine Maxwell ediscovery request could include some of the 21st Century-to-date’s most scandalous information involving politicians, royalty, and Hollywood celebrities. That is, if you believe that Ms. Maxwell was the late notorious financier Jeffrey Epstein’s procurer of young, underage girls, and that Epstein ran a pedophile ring that captured the fancy and patronage of numerous famous people.
And sure, ediscovery doesn’t seem to be as important or prolific in criminal trials as it is in civil trials so any juicy headline-grabbing details about this potential scandal are likely to be released as part of evidence already uncovered by investigators. Kind of like how the judge in Ghislaine Maxwell’s criminal case already ordered the release of a trove of documents—including flight logs from Epstein’s private jets showing who might have visited Pedo Island—uncovered by investigators (the release is pending appeal).
But what of all and any information not already captured by investigators? Under Supreme Court decisions, Riley v. California (134 S. Ct. 2473) and Carpenter v. U.S. (No. 16-402, 585 U.S.), Ms. Maxwell’s cell phone data, not to mention any other data in other devices, may be protected if not captured in an earlier warrant. Little doubt that Ms. Maxwell and her attorney have received a preservation demand, but how far down the rabbit hole does that order go? And, from a contemplative standpoint, how many rabbit warrens does Ms. Maxwell’s potentially incriminating data flow through? Her cell phone(s), after all, are just one small portion of discoverable data in today’s digital world.
This all begs the question, though, what of any discoverable information in the moribund Epstein case. While that case never came close to trial, some entity(ies) must have been working on ediscovery on a preliminary basis from both sides of the legal aisle. What salacious details might they have uncovered? Pondering minds want to know….