Federal prosecutors briefly sought to block public release of a grand-jury subpoena they had served on State Auditor Troy Kelley’s office, then reversed their position.
A statement from Kelley last week revealed the behind-the-scenes dispute. Now state lawyers have explained the sequence of events. The U.S. Attorney’s Office told state Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office March 19 it would seek a court order preventing release of the subpoena, Ferguson spokesman Peter Lavallee said.
A day later, he said, the U.S. Attorney’s Office told the state it would no longer contest the release.
It’s not clear what happened in the meantime. Did prosecutors go to a judge asking for the order? They won’t say.
Neither Ferguson’s lawyers nor Gov. Jay Inslee’s staff tried to intervene, according to both offices. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment directly on the case. But in general, spokeswoman Emily Langlie said, the office is “careful to explore its options to maintain grand jury secrecy.”
Whatever the cause, the Auditor’s Office moved quickly to release the subpoena that same day.