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Tag: search warrant

FBI Investigating Fatal Police Shooting of Black Woman at Her Louisville Home

Breonna Taylor

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI has opened an investigation into the fatal police shooting of a 26-year-old woman at her home during a narcotics probe at her Louisville, Ky., home in March.

“The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial manner,” the FBI Louisville Field Office said in a statement. “As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to comment further at this time.”

Three white police officers were executing a search warrant at the home of Breonna Taylor, who is black and was a certified EMT, when she was shot. Police found no drugs, according to The Louisville Courier-Journal.

According to police, the officers forced their way into Taylor’s home after repeatedly knocking and announcing their presence. Taylor’s boyfriend opened fire, shooting an officer in the leg, police said.

Police were investigating two men who were suspected of selling drugs out of a house more than 10 miles form Taylor’s apartment. But police received a search warrant to enter Taylor’s home because a detective said one of the suspect’s received a package at Taylor’s home.

Taylor’s mother sued the police department and the three officers, accusing them of wrongfully causing her daughter’s death.

The FBI said its investigation into the shooting is “independent” of the local probe.

FBI Serves Search Warrant on Sen. Burr Over Stock Sell-Off Amid Coronavirus

Sen. Richard Burr

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI agents served a search warrant and seized Sen. Richard Burr’s cell phone as part of an investigation of his mass sell-off of stocks, a law enforcement official told The Los Angeles Times.

Burr, a Republican from North Carolina who also serves as the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, has been under a Justice Department investigation after selling a significant chunk of his stock portfolio on Feb. 13, when his committee was receiving daily updates on the coronavirus.

A week later, the stock market declined sharply.

The Justice Department is investigating whether Bur violated a law that bars members of Congress from trading on insider information obtained from their privileged position.

Barr sold off between $628,000 and $1.7 million of his portfolio, ProPublica first reported.

Grand Jury Clears FBI Agent in Fatal Shooting in Texas

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A grand jury determined an FBI agent acted in self-defense when he shot and killed a Robinson, Texas, man while raiding a home with a federal search warrant in July.

The agent, who was not identified, was cleared of wrong doing in the shooting death of Joshua Steven Mitchell after the case was presented to a grand jury in mid-December, McLennan County First Assistant District Attorney Nelson Barnes told the Waco Tribune-Herald.

“The agent clearly acted in defense of himself and the other agents who would have been in the line of fire,” Barnes said. “Mr. Mitchell had multiple weapons next to him and he reached for one, putting the agents in danger.”

Barnes said photographs showed multiple weapons near Mitchell when agents confronted him, which suggested the agents were in danger.

Mitchell was shot four times in the head and neck, as well as once in the arm.

FBI Agents Raid LA City Hall, LADWP Amid Corruption Probe

Los Angeles City Hall by Michael J Fromholtz.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents raided Los Angeles’ city hall and a public utility agency Monday amid a sweeping federal investigation into public corruption.

Agents served search warrants at city hall and the Department of Water and Power (LADWP) on Monday morning, The Los Angeles Times reports.

The search warrants were under a sealed affidavit, and federal authorities declined to comment on the nature of the investigation.

No one was arrested as of Monday night.

The raid comes amid a sweep FBI investigation into city hall that involved foreign investments in Los Aneles real estate. Two councilmen and other high-level officials have been named in that investigation.

“We were notified earlier this morning that federal search warrants were being executed today,” a spokesman for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “The mayor’s expectation is that any city employee who is asked to cooperate will do so fully and immediately.”

Judge Drops Child Pornography Case, Saying FBI Misrepresented Facts

Best Buy, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A judge dismissed child pornography charges against a California doctor whose computer was searched following a repair by Best Buy’s Geek Squad because the FBI agent made “several false or misleading statements or omissions... with reckless disregard for the truth” in a search warrant affidavit, The Washington Post reports

The pornography case was triggered by the Geek Squad’s discovery of a photo of a naked girl, believed to be 9 years old. She was not involved in a sex act, and her genitals were not shown.

Technicians tipped off the FBI.

But U.S.District Judge Cormac J. Carney said the FBI misrepresented the case in obtaining a search warrant for the home and computers of oncologist Mark Rettenmaier. Agents found hundreds of pornographic photos on his iPhone.

Carney concluded the search was illegal because FBI agents received the warrant by inaccurately saying “the image was child pornography.” The judge said the photo was “one image of child erotica” and that it “is simply not sufficient to search Dr. Rettenmaier’s entire home, the place where the protective court of the Fourth Amendment is most powerful.”

Former U.S. Attorney: Good Reason to Believe Mueller Has Obtained Trump’s Tax Returns

President Trump, via White House

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said there’s good reason to believe special counsel Robert Mueller already has President Trump’s tax returns as part of his investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 general election.

“Based on my years of experience conducting complex white-collar investigations as a federal prosecutor, it suggests to me that Mueller has already obtained tax returns as part of his investigation,” Renato Mariotti,  a former federal prosecutor in the Securities and Commodities Fraud Section of the United States Attorney’s Office in Chicago, wrote in a column for The Hill

Mariotti notes that Mueller’s ability to obtain a search warrant to raid the home of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort indicates the special counsel has a good reason to believe a federal crime was committed.

Mariotti wrote:

One typical step that federal prosecutors take near the beginning of white-collar investigations is obtaining tax returns. I worked with federal prosecutors who obtained tax returns in every single white-collar investigation they worked on. I didn’t do that, but I obtained tax returns in most white-collar cases I investigated, particularly cases involving financial transactions.

Obtaining a subject’s tax returns can be a useful tool in almost any investigation. They tell you where the person invests their money, where their bank accounts are, where they have debts and who they’ve given money to. Often the information found in a tax return can tell a prosecutor which financial institutions and corporate entities to subpoena for records.

At times, obtaining tax returns can lead to evidence of tax offenses. If an individual receives money that is not reported in the tax return or is misrepresented, that can be charged as a separate federal crime. Hiding financial transactions also can be used as evidence that the subject knew that the underlying source of the money was illegal. 

Other Stories of Interest

What FBI Raid of Manafort’s Home Shows about Probe of Russia And Trump’s Campaign

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s raid of the home of Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort shows that the investigation of Russia meddling in the presidential election is ramping up.

The longtime Republican operative and lobbyist is under investigation by both special counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate Judiciary Committee for his alleged role in colluding with Russia to help get Trump elected.

“It is a big deal,” former Justice Department prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg told Politico. “Prosecutors do not take aggressive steps like this with subjects who the government feels are being open and cooperative. And they also do not do this to ‘send a message.’ They do it because they think there is evidence to be found and that if they do not act aggressively, it could be destroyed.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said the raid is “clear evidence” connecting him to “some criminal wrongdoing.”

“This highly significant step reaffirms the reasons that I first urged the appointment of a Special Counsel with the power to execute such investigative measures and bring criminal charges and redoubles my determination to protect this investigation from political interference,” Blumenthal said in a statement.

Duke Law School professor and former federal prosecutor Samuel Buell said the search warrant “confirms, beyond doubt, serious, criminal investigative focus on Manafort.”

Judge Refuses FBI Request to Force Potential Targets to Give Fingerprints to Unlock iPhones

fingerprint-smaller-version

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The battle over privacy and devices continues.

This time it’s taking place in Chicago.

A federal judge in Chicago has rejected a request by the FBI to force potential targets to provide fingerprints to unlock any iPhones or Apple devices in child pornography case, Jason Meisner and Steve Schmadeke of the Chicago Tribune report.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David Weisman decision came in response to a request for a warrant to search a residence where investigators suspect someone was using the internet to traffic images of child pornography, the Trib reports. 

The Trib reports:

The prosecution filing seeking the search warrant on the FBI’s behalf remains under seal, but the judge’s opinion said the government requested “the authority to compel any individual who is present at the subject premises at the time of the search” to provide a fingerprint or thumbprint needed to unlock an Apple device.

Weisman, a former federal prosecutor and FBI agent, wrote in his 14-page opinion last month that the government hadn’t presented enough facts in its application that would justify such sweeping “intrusions,” including any specific information about those who might be living at the residence or their connection to the child pornography investigation.