06 June 2015

Live in Obedient Fear, Citizen

In yet another case of prosecutorial overreach, we have motions by the prosecutors in another of the FBI's entrapment efforts forbid defense counsel from putting forward their case:
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has become such a powerful symbol of government overreach that federal prosecutors in a terror case in Chicago are asking the judge to forbid defense attorneys from even mentioning his name during trial, for fear that it would lead the jury to disregard their evidence.

The upcoming trial is of Adel Daoud, a slow-witted Chicagoland teenager caught in yet another FBI terror sting aimed at someone vulnerable to manipulation. An undercover federal agent provided Daoud with a fake car bomb parked outside a downtown Chicago bar, and then let him push the detonator.

Much of the evidence in the case — involving Daoud’s online explorations into Islam and jihad — was gathered through surveillance conducted using secret warrants issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.

Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago asked Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman on Wednesday to prohibit the defense from mentioning Snowden’s name — along with a number of other things, such as the existence of the National Security Agency, or a speech by Senator Dianne Feinstein in which she cited “a plot to bomb a downtown Chicago bar” as an example of one that was thwarted thanks to FISA authorities.

Their concern: Those topics “are irrelevant and would tend to elicit jury nullification, so the defendant should be barred from inquiring of witnesses, presenting evidence, or arguing to the jury about them.”

A key issue in the case has already been extensively litigated. Judge Coleman in January 2014 ruled that Daoud’s security-cleared lawyers should be allowed to see all the classified materials the government submitted in order to get their FISA warrants.


For good measure, the prosecutors also don’t want the defense to claim entrapment, either:

[T]he defendant should be precluded from arguing or suggesting that the undercover technique the government used in the underlying investigation was improper. Any argument attacking the government’s investigative techniques would not only be improper, but it should also trigger an instruction that such investigative techniques are entirely proper.
This is crap.

It is corrosive to concept of a fair trial that has developed in the US, and England before it, over the past thousand years.


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