News Organizations Sue to Open Records on Accused Garland Attacker

A group of news organizations have banded together to try to force disclosure of now-sealed records related to the Phoenix man being held in the Garland, Texas, attack.

Phoenix Newspapers Inc., (publisher of the Arizona Republic), Channel 5 (KPHO-TV), Channel 12 (KPNX-TV), and Channel 15 (KNXV-TV) filed a motion today in federal court asking for a judge to order the government and attorneys for defendant Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem to review — within five days — what evidence should remain under seal.

Lawyers for each party in the criminal case should "file a motion to maintain under seal any of those documents for which they believe that continued sealing can be justified under the First Amendment and common law," the records state.

A judge should review the motions — plus the evidence in question — and make a ruling on what should remain hidden from the public, say attorneys for the news media.

"The documents and videos on the computer and flash drive advocated ideologically motivated violence against civilians." — from June 17 detention order of Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, 43, of Phoenix.

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As a detention order filing made last week shows, the evidence includes a flash drive and computer that reportedly had documents and videos that "advocated ideologically motivated violence against civilians."

Kareem, who changed his named legally from Decaracus Thomas, is a 43-year-old carpet cleaner and Muslim convert who the authorities say helped two other Phoenix men attack a May 3rd Mohammed-drawing contest put on by the anti-Islam group American Freedom Defense Initiative. Suspects Nadir Soofi And Elton Simpson showed up at the contest with semi-automatic rifles blazing, but were killed by a Garland officers providing security at the scene before they could murder anyone. Little information has been released about them.

As we reported last week, Kareem sometimes volunteered, and occasionally was hired, to clean at the Islamic Cultural Center of Phoenix, the same mosque where Soofi and Simpson had been known to worship, and the site of an armed anti-Islam protest on May 29 that drew worldwide attention.

Check out the court filings below.

UPDATE: June 25 — U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton orders attorneys to respond to the news organizations' motion by July 2.

Clarification: The original story said the news outlets filed "suit" — in fact, they filed a motion in Kareem's criminal case. 

UPDATE July 6: Prosecutors agree to the unsealing of a 12-page document that reveals a few more details about Kareem. See document below:

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