Thursday, February 17, 2011

BingoGate: Hearing scheduled – Government’s moment of greatest peril

Today, US Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel scheduled two key events which together represent the moment of greatest peril for the prosecution. To date, the Court has received nine motions to suppress evidence. The key targets of those motions are the wiretaps themselves.

Citing federal statute, case law and the United States Constitution, the defendants are asking the Court to suppress most or all of the evidence found on the wiretaps.
The key to the defendants’ argument is that the government failed to follow the authorizing order under Title III and that the agents responsible for carrying out the surveillance failed to follow instructions given them. By doing so, defendants argue that the government eavesdropped on conversations that were not pertinent to the case and invaded the privacy of the defendants, their business associates and their their family members. The defendants argue that since some of the conversations were privileged and should not have been recorded, all of the evidence should be thrown out.

Several of the motions mention wiretapped conversations that are completely unrelated to the facts and allegations of this case. As regular readers of this blog know, it is widely believed that some of those conversations implicate individuals in matters far removed from the original scope of the US vs McGregor et al indictments, and it is also widely believed that the NCAA has a great interest in the contents of those recordings.

Naturally, the prosecution has filed lengthy and vigorous motions in opposition to the defendants’ motions.

Showdown time.

Judge Capel scheduled a telephone conference to discuss issues pertaining to the
suppression hearing at 1:00 p.m. on February 23, 2011. The suppression hearing itself will be held from February 28, 2011 through March 2, 2011 at the Federal Courthouse on Church Street in Montgomery.

No order was given closing the hearing, so interested members of the public may attend.

The Court’s decision could come at any time following the hearing. My bet is that the judge allows the evidence to be heard by the jury at trial, but allows the defense an avenue of appeal.

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