hijackers allegedly shot each of these passengers from behind at point blank range. The passengers were then thrown onto the tarmac below. Two of these passengers, one of whom was an American citizen, died from their wounds.
The incident ended when an Egyptian commando unit stormed the plane to rescue the remaining passengers and apprehend the hijackers. In the ensuing melee, 57 passengers were killed. Rezaq was captured and turned over to Maltese authorities, whereupon he was tried and convicted under Maltese law of murder, attempted murder, and the unlawful taking of hostages. Rezaq was sentenced to twenty-five years incarceration in a Maltese prison, but, for reasons that remain unclear, he was released in 1993 after having served only seven years of the sentence and permitted to board an airplane bound for the Sudan.
Rezaq's flight itinerary was to carry him to the Sudan via Ghana, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. Upon reaching Ghana, however, Rezaq was detained by Ghanian officials, who subsequently released him to his original itinerary. When Rezaq landed in Nigeria, Nigerian authorities escorted him to an aircraft chartered by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. Rezaq was then flown to the United States. While en route to the United States, a federal grand jury of the District of Columbia returned an indictment, charging Rezaq with aircraft piracy. FBI agents executed an arrest warrant upon Rezaq's arrival at Dulles Airport, and escorted Rezaq to the federal courthouse of the District of Columbia. Shortly thereafter, the grand jury returned a superseding indictment, on which defendant was arraigned.
On July 22, 1993, defendant sent the prosecution a letter detailing several discovery requests. The government responded to some, but not all of defendant's requests. Defendant then filed a series of motions to dismiss the indictment as well as a motion to compel the government to produce evidence pertaining to the unanswered requests.
The United States opposed the motion, and filed a number of discovery-related motions of its own, including a motion for a protective order to establish security procedures for classified documents made available during discovery. On July 27, 1994, this court issued a Discovery Order, a Protective Order, and an accompanying Memorandum Opinion on Discovery resolving the discovery motions. The United States now asks the court to reconsider aspects of both of these Orders. The government's motion to reconsider as well as three of defendant's motions to dismiss are discussed below.
A. Motion to Reconsider the Discovery Order with Respect to Discovery Request Number 9
A district court "always has the power to modify earlier orders in a pending case." Kapco Mfg. Co. v. C & O Enterprises, Inc., 773 F.2d 151, 154 (7th Cir. 1985). Moreover, it is well established that a district court has the inherent power to reconsider interlocutory orders and reopen any part of a case before entry of final judgment. See Marconi Wireless Tel. Co. v. United States, 320 U.S. 1, 47 - 48, 87 L. Ed. 1731, 63 S. Ct. 1393 (1943). This authority does not rest in any particular federal rule, but emanates from the inherent power of the court. See A Hollow Metal Warehouse v. United States Fidelity & Guar. Co., 700 F. Supp. 410, 411-12 (N.D. Ill. 1988). Thus it is within a district court's discretion to revisit previously issued orders while the case is still pending before the court.
In discovery request number 9,
the defendant sought the production of certain information the defendant believed was material to his double jeopardy defense. Defendant's double jeopardy defense is premised on a showing that the United States government was so extensively involved in the Maltese prosecution that defendant in effect has been prosecuted twice by the United States for the same offense. Thus, defendant asked the government to produce:
All documents concerning any advice, assistance requests or any other communication between the government of the United States and Malta concerning the apprehension, investigation, trial, or sentencing of the defendant in Malta
The names, last known addresses and phone numbers of any individual in the government of the United States or the government of Malta known to have information concerning the role the United States played in the apprehension, investigation, trial or sentencing of the defendant.