Monday, February 28, 2011

BingoGate: Judge hearing oral arguments this week on wiretaps

image As reported here on February 17, US Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel will hear oral arguments starting today on whether the prosecution will be allowed to use the wiretap recordings as evidence against the nine remaining defendants in USA vs. McGregor et al.

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.

Given that there are so many of the same faces showing up in so many of the same, unusual places, suppressing that evidence could have a tsunami-like ripple effect on other rather high profile investigations.

Legal analysts tell me that the prosecution has a better than even chance of prevailing and that Judge Capel will likely let the jury hear the evidence

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.

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