Tuesday, March 22, 2011

BingoGate: Supplemental hearing on motions to suppress wiretaps is under way UPDATE: Halted, UPDATE: Rescheduled. Capel PISSED.

image At 9:00 am this morning, US Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel is holding a supplemental hearing on the various motions to suppress the wiretap evidence in USA vs. McGregor et al.

At a hearing last Friday, an exasperated Judge admonished the prosecution over its failure to produce evidence regarding the protocols used by federal agents during the conduct of the electronic surveillance phase of the investigation. The agents tapped the phones of Milton McGregor, Ronald Gilley and others  approximately one year ago.

Those wiretaps produced nearly 13,000 recordings of conversations between McGregor, Gilley, their lobbyists and the legislators they are accused of bribing in a wide ranging conspiracy to gain passage of a constitutional amendment legalizing electronic gambling.

In their motions to suppress the wiretap evidence, the defendants in the case allege that the government exceeded its authority, broke its own rules and violated the constitutional rights of the defendants. As relief, the defendants seek to have all of the wiretaps thrown out.

Should they succeed and should they prevail on appeal, the wiretap recordings and transcripts go into one of those cavernous warehouses, never to be seen or heard ever again. The government’s case will almost certainly disintegrate and the defendants will walk away. Should the Court allow the evidence, the trial will proceed as scheduled on June 6.

Legal analysts providing advice to IBCR expected Capel’s ruling weeks ago, and have expressed the opinion that Capel is carefully considering both the facts and the law.

Updates as they become available.

UPDATE: Capel has halted the hearing because—believe it or not—the government still hasn’t turned over some of the FBI records of wiretaps on the phones of McGregor and Gilley.  Capel indicated the hearing will reconvene later today.

UPDATE II: Capel has rescheduled the hearing until Thursday, angrily chastising the prosecution for failing to comply with his orders. “Those documents better be turned over by the end of the day,” said Capel.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and visit the Timeline Page for a complete chronology of events.


Andrew in Alabama said...

I am ashamed that these prosecutors are working for the United States Justice Department. The rules apply to everyone, and they serve to ensure everyone receives a fair trial. Playing games with evidence serves no one and weakens the public's opinion of the judicial system.

For shame, prosecutors.