FBI Should OBEY the Law They ENFORCE
by Shari Dovale
The Malheur Protest Trial begins opening arguments on Tuesday. Prior to that taking place, Judge Anna Brown is expected to rule on the Facebook evidence fiasco.
Basically, the government obtained a warrant to gather public and private messages from Facebook for the defendants in the case. The scope of the warrant was limited and was to be filtered. The unresponsive data, or unnecessary data, was to be deleted, destroyed, or sealed away from everyone, including prosecutors.
On July 18th, the FBI swore under oath that the search had been completed and the unresponsive data had been destroyed or sealed.
Attorney for David Fry, Per C. Olson, showed that these statements were false. The evidence had not been sealed. It was left in the hands of the FBI… or was it?
Part of the evidence included naked pictures of a defendant’s girlfriend. We know this because these ended up in the discovery that was delivered to some of the key players in the trial. However, the FBI believes that the prosecution did not receive the pornographic evidence. I guess they just sent it to the defense?
Additionally, this brings ‘Chain of evidence’ into question. Who had access to this unsecured evidence? The veracity of the FBI certainly should be questioned on multiple levels. The gathering of all ‘social media’ evidence could now come under suspicion, as well.
Judge Anna Brown must decide if the terms of the search warrant has been violated, which could mean the evidence obtained may be thrown out and not used.
The fact is the defendant’s rights were violated. Same with the woman in the photos. The FBI got a hold of those photos and shared them. This is against federal pornography laws. Who will be held accountable? They did not delete them in a timely manner. They did not seal them against view. We don’t know what they did with them.
Then, they lied about this information. The FBI contends that just because someone doesn’t tell the truth, that doesn’t make it a lie. Sorry, but that actually is the definition. They do not allow anyone else this broad definition. Anyone else would be prosecuted for perjury.
However, even going on their convoluted scenario, why would an FBI Special Agent actually testify, under oath, if he did not verify the information? He is accountable because he made the statements. If not him, then who?
These lies show the disregard that the FBI held for this warrant. They did not show the concern that they should have. It was disrespectful to the defendants, to the court, and to the people of the United States. They are the law enforcement agents that would be holding us accountable if we lied to the court. They would be holding us accountable if we found, and distributed, pornography. They would be holding us accountable if we attempted to get evidence into the court that was not handled exactly according to the law.
The FBI must be held to obeying the laws they enforce. It is up to the judge to see that justice is served.
These defendants are fighting for their freedom. They are being held to different standards than the government that is prosecuting them. It is a responsibility of the court to see that these defendants are treated fairly and equitably. If there is doubt, the court is safer to error on the side of the defendants.
But, the fact remains: A Court Order was Violated!
The law is clear. The evidence is tainted and should not be allowed. If it were the defendants behaving this way, this discussion would have been done within the first day.