The Star News Network, covering the Nashville school shooting, is seeking this critical information from the FBI to learn the motivations of the killer
The News: Today, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) announced the filing of new case against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for withholding Nashville shooter Audrey Hale’s manifesto, despite filing a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). WILL represents the nationwide conservative news network, The Star News Network and its Editor-in-Chief, Michael Patrick Leahy, and National Political Editor, Matt Kittle. The Star News Network is owned by Star News Digital Media, Inc., with headquarters in Nashville. The network’s reporters are investigating the motivation of the shooter and the FBI’s refusal to disclose important information. FBI’s stonewalling is a clear violation of law and inhibits the critical role the free press plays in our democratic society.
The Quotes: WILL Deputy Counsel, Dan Lennington, stated, “No one is above the law, not even the FBI. WILL is proud to stand with hardworking journalists at The Star News Network, who are demanding information related to the recent mass shooting in Nashville. Today’s administrative appeal is just the first step, and we will exhaust all legal options to seek information that belongs to the public.”
“The release of these records is critical to understanding the mind and actions of a mass murderer, and can help form public policy to most effectively protect American citizens,” said Michael Patrick Leahy, Editor-in-Chief of The Star News Network and CEO of parent company Star News Digital Media, Inc., headquartered in Nashville. “We believe the public’s right to know is so important that we are willing to challenge the most powerful law enforcement agency in America.”
Additional Background: FOIA requires federal agencies to provide access to all “records promptly available to any person [making the request],” subject to certain exceptions. On April 20, 2023, Kittle requested a copy of the manifesto from the FBI. On April 24, Kittle provided additional information to the FBI, explaining the urgency of the request, but then FBI officials denied this request on April 25. That same day, on behalf of The Star News Network—Leahy and Kittle—WILL filed an expedited administrative appeal challenging FBI’s actions. If the FBI does not release the manifesto as required by law, FOIA authorizes WILL to file a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennesee.
Local officials have been highly critical of the FBI for stalling on release of the Manifesto, WILL has taken the next step by filing legal action on behalf of reporters investigating this story.