More than two dozen sealed criminal indictments have been added to the federal court docket in Washington, D.C. since January 2018.
Legal experts told ABC News the sealed cases could be connected to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and potentially part of a quiet effort to protect his investigation from being shut down.
A spokesperson for the special counsel’s office declined to comment on the investigation or the increase of sealed indictments.
According to Kendall Coffey, sealed indictments are frequently used in cases where a defendant is overseas and U.S. prosecutors don’t want to tip off their target before they have a chance to make an arrest. But they can also be used to pressure someone to flip on a more important target. Coffey added, “especially if there was someone who presented the hope of providing proactive assistance – undertaking conversations, especially recorded conversations with other suspects in the investigation.”