Newspaper Sues FBI Over Civil Rights Photographer’s Informant File

A newspaper in Memphis, Tenn., is suing the FBI over access to documents about civil rights era photographer Ernest Withers and his reported domestic surveillance work for law enforcement authorities.

The Commercial Appeal, represented by Holland & Knight, wants the FBI to produce Withers’ informant file and photographs he submitted to the bureau, according to a suit the newspaper filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia this month.

The newspaper’s lawyers, including Charles Tobin, chair of Holland & Knight’s national media practice, said in the suit that the documents will “help determine what our government was up to when it recruited citizens to surreptitiously gather information about the civil rights movement.”

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