us attorney: Gina Durham

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Integrity Commission goes after Google

By Anna Ramdass anna.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

The Integrity Commission has retained the services of a top United States attorney who has filed a subpoena in the US Federal Court ordering Google to provide information to aid in the “Emailgate” investigations. Gina Durham, partner co-Chair, US Social Media Practice at DLA Piper law firm, was hired by the Integrity Commission to initiate action against Google.

Durham stated in a lawsuit filed in the Northern District court of California on Monday that the Integrity Commission requires the information to authenticate the alleged e-mails which would assist the commission in determining whether an offence was committed which should be turned over the Direction of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in support of an ongoing criminal investigation.

This move by the Integrity Commission comes more than a year since Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley made the allegations.
On May 20, 2013, Rowley, during his motion of no confidence against the People’s Partnership Government and the Prime Minister, disclosed the contents of 31 “e-mails” purporting to be exchanges between Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Minister of Local Government Surujrattan Rambachan and then national security adviser to the Prime Minister, Gary Griffith.

*The e-mails alleged these high office holders were conspiring to harm a journalist, plant electronic spy devices in the Office of the DPP, and offer the DPP a judgeship with respect to the Section 34 fiasco in September 2012. “As part of an investigation into possible corruption at the highest levels of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, the commission is seeking to learn the owner of the e-mail accounts and authenticate specifically prior published e-mails that purportedly were sent from accounts maintained on servers controlled by Google (the “E-mails”)” stated Durham in her lawsuit.

“The commission requests this Court’s assistance in having these specific e-mails authenticated, in aid of the commission’s ongoing investigation,” stated the document. Durham outlined the allegations against the public officials named and listed the e-mails which the allegations purportedly came from: anan@gmail.com, anand@tstt.net.tt, surujrambachan@hotmail.com, captaingarygriffith@hotmail.com and kamlapb1@gmail.com.

She stated Persad-Bissessar has not confirmed that any of the e-mail addresses belong to her.

Ramlogan has denied having a gmail account but has given consent to search his e-mail account anand@tstt.net.tt which is controlled by Google. Durham stated that Rambachan and Griffith have confirmed, through counsel, that the Hotmail accounts belong to them and have authorised Microsoft to release the contents of the e-mails to the commission.

Durham stated that the commission seeks the court’s assistance in securing additional information with respect to three e-mail accounts: anan@gmail.com, anand@tsttt.net.tt and kamlapl1@gmail.com.

“The commission now requests that this court enter an order requiring the clerk of the court to sign a subpoena to Google, compelling Google to produce documents identifying the account ownership information for the e-mail accounts, provide an affidavit attesting to the authenticity of the specific published e-mails sent from or to the e-mail accounts and, if authentic, produce copies of the e-mails” stated Durham.

Durham stated that the Commission’s application was not to circumvent the law of Trinidad and Tobago but in order to sufficiently authenticate documents in aid of an ongoing criminal investigation.

Contacted yesterday by the Express, Integrity Commission chairman Ken Gordon said he had no comment to make on the matter.
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