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Report indicates more details of Burr insider trading investigation will be made public

More details of the aborted investigation into the stock transactions of North Carolina Senator Richard Burr (show here in a screenshot from a recent Senate hearing) will become available Sept. 5

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that more details of the aborted federal investigation into allegations of insider trading by North Carolina U.S. Senator Richard Burr during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic will soon be made public.

As you will recall, multiple news outlets reported in 2020 and 2021 about the possibility that Burr had used information he garnered from confidential Senate briefings in which he participated at the very outset of the pandemic (Burr was then chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee) as grounds to dump $1.6 million in stocks he owned.

In late 2021, Raleigh’s News & Observer even called on Burr to resign prior to the end of his term (he is not running for reelection this fall) — saying the insider trading reports indicated that the senator “broke his commitment to serve and protect us when we needed him most.”

Now, the public should learn more details about the affair. This is from yesterday’s report by Times reporter Sarah D. Wire:

A federal judge has ordered the Department of Justice to publicly release a significantly less-redacted version of the 2020 search warrant executed to seize North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr’s cellphone as part of an investigation into the Republican lawmaker’s stock trades at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Los Angeles Times, which sought the release of the document in court, had pushed for more information after the department released a heavily redacted search warrant and accompanying affidavit in June by order of the court. The affidavit provided few insights into the evidence the FBI had gathered and used to obtain permission from a federal judge to seize the phone.

Justice Department attorneys argued in court papers that much of the information should remain blacked out, in part because it includes “extensive details of interviews with private third-party witnesses whose role in the investigation is not publicly known.”

But Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell on Monday ordered the Justice Department to file a new redacted version of the warrant by Sept. 5.

The bottom line: Though it appears Burr has emerged from this episode without any negative legal consequences, it should be interesting to learn more details about why investigators wanted his cellphone.

As an interesting/amusing side note, in the order issued by Chief Judge Howell, Burr is referred to three times as “former Senator Burr.” In fact, his term doesn’t end for more than four more months.

Weekend reads: Election officials seek more funding for security, a charter school shortchanges children with disabilities, and a check on rogue legislators

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