Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Confidential information from a criminal case against a Russian social media company was used in an attempt to discredit ongoing investigations into Russian meddling in American politics.
The Justice Department alleges in court documents filed Wednesday that non-sensitive material in a case Special Counsel Robert Mueller has brought against Concord Management and Consulting LLC was altered and spread through Twitter by pro-Russian account @HackingRedstone in 2018.
"Certain non-sensitive discovery materials in the defense's possession appear to have been altered and disseminated as part of a disinformation campaign aimed (apparently) at discrediting ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the U.S. political system," the court filings said.
The filings come from a court case where the Justice Department has accused the Russian company of having conducted a social media campaign to influence American voters in 2016, CNN reported.
However, non-sensitive documents the Justice Department had shared as evidence with Concord's legal team during the process of preparing for the trial were altered and leaked online, the Justice Department alleges.
"In October 2018, one or more actors made statements claiming to have a stolen copy of discovery produced by the government in this case," the filing states.
On Oct. 22, 2018, @HackingRedstone tweeted a link to hundreds of thousands of files as well as sent a direct message to a reporter stating that the material was gained through hacking a Russian server with access to the materials shared with Reed Smith, the legal representatives for Concord.
More than a thousand files match those given to Concord as evidence, meaning "that the person(s) who created the webpage had access to at least some of the non-sensitive discovery produce by the government in this case."
Reed Smith told CNN in a statement that the firm had not been hacked.
"We maintain the highest levels of security and protection for all of our systems and their contents. Reed Smith has never hosted or maintained any of the data at issue here produced by the government in the Concord case on Reed Smith computer systems. A third-party vendor has hosted all such data and has assured us that there has been no breach of the database that maintains the data," Reed Smith said.
The Justice Department submitted the filings as an argument to deny Concord's request to send sensitive information back to Russia to prepare its defense.
"Concord's request to send the sensitive discovery to the Russian Federation unreasonably risks the national security interests of the United States," the filings said.
The sensitive material includes "information describing the government's investigative techniques, identities of cooperating individuals and companies, and personal identifying information related to U.S. persons who were victims of identity theft."
The Justice Department says the information, if sent to Russia, would be obtained by Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is indicted as a co-conspirator but has not appeared before the court as well as other "unnamed individuals who are outside the jurisdiction of this Court."
Yevgeny Prigozhin is Russian Oligarch with close ties to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Concord says it needs the information and by not sharing it the government is preventing the defense from preparing for trial, according to the filings.
However, the government says it has provided Concord with the sensitive documents.
"The government has never sought to bar Court-approved individual offers and employees of Concord from reviewing sensitive discovery materials in The United States offices of Reed Smith under the security protections established by the Court's protective order," the filing states.