Skip to comments.Prosecutors Eyeing Wiretap Problems
Posted on 09/21/2007 10:30:59 AM PDT by SmithL
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department is worried that a recent appeals court ruling could make it impossible to use wiretaps to investigate members of Congress in corruption cases.
If so, that could extend to the ongoing investigation of Sen. Ted Steven, R-Alaska. The Associated Press recently reported that the FBI used an Alaskan oil contractor to tape phone conversations with the powerful senator as part of a corruption sting.
In court documents filed last week, government attorneys asked the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reconsider last month's decision regarding the FBI raid on the office of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La.
The government argues that the ruling that prosecutors overstepped their authority "threatens to complicate numerous ongoing and future investigations" and hinder the ability to use electronic surveillance.
The court held that FBI agents trampled on congressional independence during that raid because, even though they took only documents relevant to their bribery investigation, agents reviewed legislative documents in a Capitol Hill office. The Constitution prohibits the executive branch from interfering with legislative business.
The Jefferson case didn't deal with wiretaps, but if simply viewing legislative documents makes a search illegal, prosecutors could be prohibited from using wiretap evidence at trial if investigators happened to overhear legislative business.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
Regardless of his guilt or innocence, I wonder when liberals are going to defend Ted’s civil liberties?