Oct. 17 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Thursday ruled that the Department of Justice incorrectly redacted names from a court filing connected to former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and must refile a second version.
In her decision, Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia said the Justice Department incorrectly interpreted rules concerning grand jury protections to conceal the identities of two witnesses who did not testify before the grand jury summoned by Mueller.
Howell said the Justice Department erred when it redacted the information on the theory the witnesses who did not testify could reveal information that was discussed during the grand jury.
She said the rule in question is not a "barrier to disclosure of the identities of two individuals whose testimony the special counsel chose not to present to the grand jury," she said, ordering the department to file a second copy of the court document with the names of the two witnesses and several sentences unredacted.
The reason Mueller did not order the witnesses before the grand jury is unknown, she said, but that doesn't mean they are unimportant.
"To the contrary, both of the non-testifying individuals named in paragraph four figured in key events examined in the Mueller Report," she said.