Free Speech

Court Grants Motion to Seal Saudi Crown Prince's WhatsApp Number


From Judge K. Michael Moore today, in Oueiss v. Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud; I blogged about the motion when it was filed last month, so I thought I'd follow up. As I noted in the original post, here's a brief Bloomberg: summary of the underlying case:

An Al Jazeera news anchor sued the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for allegedly hacking into her phone and stealing and doctoring images to disparage and intimidate her on social media.

Ghada Oueiss claims she was a target of the harassment because of her reporting on human rights abuses, according to her complaint filed on Wednesday [Dec. 9, 2020] in Miami federal court. Her suit names Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia and Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE as defendants, as well as other officials and agents of those nations….

And here's an excerpt from the motion to seal that Judge Moore granted (correctly so, I think):

Given the anticipated difficulties of effecting service on certain Defendants, … Plaintiff has filed the Ex Parte Motion, in which Plaintiff requests the Court's permission to serve MBS [Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud], MBZ, al Bannai, Al Qahtani, Al-Asaker, DarkMatter, MiSK, Zeinab, al Otaibi, Al Menaia, Al-Owerde (together, the "Foreign Defendants") via alternative means pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(f)(3).

In support of the Ex Parte Motion, and for the Court's ease of reference, Plaintiff
intends to file Exhibit "K" to the Declaration of Daniel Rashbaum [D.E. 5-1], which is a chart containing the relevant addresses (physical, email, social media) at which Plaintiff proposes she be permitted to serve each of the Foreign Defendants.

Among the alternative means proposed in the Ex Parte Motion, Plaintiff requests the Court's permission to serve MBS via WhatsApp, and Plaintiff therefore intends to include MBS's WhatsApp number in Exhibit "K."

Given that MBS is the current Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, however, his WhatsApp telephone number is highly sensitive information that is not in the public domain….

Plaintiff requests that she be permitted to preserve the confidentiality of MBS's WhatsApp telephone number by filing Exhibit "K" under seal.

NEXT: The Yale Law School and Federalist Society Experience 2003-2006

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  1. Shots reportedly fired in the Congressional chambers. Injuries reported inside the Capitol.

    The Volokh Conspiracy, Federalist Society, and Republican Party lathered these low-grade rubes. I expect to observe that better Americans are done appeasing Republicans bigots, stale-thinking conservatives, disaffected clingers, superstitious malcontents, and anti-social right-wing losers.

    How many right-wingers are going to be hired by legitimate law schools our lifetimes? I’d secure a spot at Liberty, Regent, Ave Maria, or maybe Chapman if I were a clinger hoping to work as a law professor.

    1. Honestly this is a bizarrely tone deaf post from prof volokh. He’s been out of touch for a while, trying to curry favor with trumpists. Does he really think all his knowledge of the first amendment will mean anything in trump’s new america

      1. I profoundly disagree. This is a legal blog where the OPs are given free reign to post about the subjects that interest them (and, for some posters, this means focusing mainly on areas of the law where they have some subject matter expertise).
        I have no problem at all, therefore, with people blogging about this issue, or about weekly poetry, or brain teasers, etc..
        But, OF COURSE, I would wish for bloggers here to want to post about evil, un-American, bastards like Sen. Cruz, who are using the legal process to make America appreciably worse. It falls well into “legal” areas and seems entirely appropriate for multiple posts, by multiple bloggers.
        I’ll note that, as I type this, armed bat-shit-crazy pro-Trump supporters have swarmed the Capitol. What happens next is firmly on the shoulders of President Trump, and on the aforementioned odious Senator Cruz. Beyond evil. Beyond loathsome. Beyond appalling. The English language fails us in situations like this.

        1. It is also on the shoulders of the Volokh Conspirators. They lathered these uneducated, superstitious, bigoted, right-wing jerks. Knowingly, repeatedly, shamelessly. The Volokh Conspirators are as cowardly today as Ted Cruz was when Trump repeatedly called Heidi Cruz a hideously ugly pig.

  2. “But my prediction is that (setting aside the surface matters related to the epidemic) it will be a Jan. 20 of an inauguration year much like any other.”

    You may want to rethink that one, Gene. I think we’re about due for a “mea culpa” from you. As for Josh Blackman, well, I can hardly wait.

    1. Prof. Volokh is demonstrating his cowardice today.

      A yellow-bellied ankle-nipper.

      UCLA must be so proud.

      I hope it — like other strong, mainstream educational institutions — doesn’t make a similar mistake again. Let the clingers congregate at Ave Maria, Liberty, and Regent. Maybe give them South Texas, too.

      1. A few other Conspirators belong in the same paltry group.

      2. You must read a different blog than the one I read. The Trumpists are profoundly authoritarian whereas EV and most of the others are strong (civil) libertarians. The Trumpists oppose the rule of law, whereas EV and the others are very much about the rule of law. One of the central themes of the Trumpists is the desire to severely limit immigration. EV himself doesn’t have a lot to say about immigration, but Ilya Somin advocates a position that is virtually the antithesis of Trump’s.

        1. Strong libertarians do not engage in partisan, viewpoint-controlled, right-wing censorship. Prof. Volokh is a movement conservative, steeped in the bigotry, backwardness, hypocrisy, and discredited ideology of movement conservatism. He struts around in unconvincing libertarian drag, but that relates more to calculation about political effectiveness than to anything resembling genuine libertarianism.

          He endorsed Ted Cruz. Even the most gullible clinger must have a hard time figuring Prof. Volokh for a libertarian.

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