Political News

Chief Justice pauses contempt order for mystery company in Mueller investigation

Posted December 23, 2018 8:21 p.m. EST

— Chief Justice John Roberts on Sunday issued a temporary pause on an order holding an unnamed, foreign government-owned company in contempt over a mystery court case related to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

The order puts on hold the contempt citation issued by a DC federal judge against the company related to a grand jury subpoena it received, but only long enough for the justices to decide whether they want to intervene in the case.

The company asked the Supreme Court to intervene after a federal appeals court ruling that ordered the company to comply with the subpoena, which required it to turn over "information" about its commercial activity in a criminal investigation. The Supreme Court action also paused fines the company was facing for every day of noncompliance.

The pause lasts until the court has time to review a response from the government due on or before December 31.

The request to the Supreme Court is the latest twist in the secret case, much of which is under seal and has made its way through the federal court system with uncommon speed.

This is the first known legal challenge apparently related to Mueller's investigation to make its way to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court could separately be asked to hear an appeal of the case.