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FBI in Awkward Position After Federal Judge's Order in Nashville Trans Shooting Case

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The American public might be inching closer to finding out the truth behind last year’s massacre at a Christian school in Tennessee thanks to a federal judge’s order.

And the FBI might have some awkward explaining to do.

The manifesto of Audrey Hale, who identified as a transgender man, has been kept from the public since last year when the woman carried out her massacre at The Covenant School in Nashville.

Parts of the manifesto were leaked last fall but few explanations have been offered as to why the FBI has suppressed the document.

The agency had argued releasing the document might affect its ongoing investigation.

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According to a Fox News report Wednesday, Judge Aleta Trauger of the Middle District of Tennessee ordered the bureau to release the manifesto to her and also said the FBI had not supported its argument to suppress the document with “sufficient clarity or detail.”

In the ruling, which is dated March 15, the judge wrote:

“The FBI is ORDERED to produce ex parte all documents that are potentially responsive to the defendants’ Freedom of Information Act request for in camera review, with the exception that, based on the plaintiffs’ concessions in this litigation, the FBI need not produce any documents that could not reasonably be construed to bear on Audrey Hale’s motives.”

The order doesn’t mean the information will become public — that has yet to be decided. But it does mean it could be a step closer.

Should law enforcement officials have already released the entire manifesto?

Trauger’s ruling followed a lawsuit from the parent company of the Tennessee Star, a conservative online news outlet, which had filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the bureau that sought a copy of the manifesto.

The FBI denied the request.

In its complaint against the FBI, the Tennessee Star called the release of Hale’s manifesto a matter of public interest.

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“It has been long enough, and the public has an urgent right to know why this tragedy happened, how future events may be prevented, and what policies should be in place to address this and other similar tragedies,” attorneys for the newspaper argued.

The paper further argued the bureau had no legal right to “retain a monopoly on this information.”

Hale, 28, entered the school heavily armed on March 27, 2023.

Nine-year-old children Hallie Scruggs, Evelyn Dieckhaus and William Kinney were each shot to death. Faculty and staff members Mike Hill, Cynthia Peak and Katherine Koonce also died in the attack.

Conservative podcaster Steven Crowder obtained and shared part of the manifesto in November of last year, leading to the suspensions of several Nashville police officers.

Portions shared by Crowder showed Hale appeared to refer to school children as “little crackers” who had been the beneficiaries of “white privilege,” Newsweek reported.

The FBI declined to comment on the leak, but its public stonewalling might be coming to an end when it comes to the manifesto.

After that, maybe it can explain why it was hiding the truth for so long.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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