Mike Vanderboegh provides us with a very illuminating court transcript. If I understand the situation correctly, what’s going on here is a federal agency, the BATFX (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives), tried to convict a Mr. Larry Friesen of trafficking in machine guns by selling a part (a “tube”) that might be used in a machine gun. Friesen demanded that they reveal, in court, the exact procedures used to determine that he was in violation.
…[I]n the end this was about protecting their secret documents. These documents, no matter what spin they put on them, are in the final analysis just rules, regulations, policies and testing procedures that ought to be in the public domain. They refuse to release tham because then they couldn’t change the rules to suit themselves in whatever particular case they’re running.
when poor old Jimmy Vann just couldn’t find his “lost” documents, I laughed so hard I almost peed myself. He used every excuse except the dog ate his homework. When they realized they would have to drop the case or reveal some of their precious documents, they cockroached, headed for the base boards and Friesen walked on a misdeamenor after they’d spent at least a million dollars and years of work trying to put him in federal prison with real criminals like MS-13.
Therefore, and tell me if I’m wrong, the real lesson here is that if you are indicted by the ATF for anything, just have your lawyers work it out to threaten the disclosure of one or more ATF “secret documents,” and you’re home free.