Saturday, November 11, 2006

Illegally Obtained Evidence No Bar To Terrorism Prosecution

This is the guy whose "terrorist act" consisted of a plot to use blowtorches to cut the suspension cables of the Brooklyn Bridge.

A federal judge has refused to throw out the guilty plea of a convicted al-Qaeda supporter who argued that he was illegally spied on through President Bush's controversial warrantless eavesdropping program.

Iyman Faris, an Ohio truck driver, pleaded guilty in 2003 to plotting to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge and launch a simultaneous attack in Washington. He asked a judge to vacate the plea, arguing in part that the alleged surveillance violated his rights and that the government could not use it to build a case against him.

U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema rejected Faris's motion this week for reasons that are unclear because her ruling remains sealed. It is cited in the docket in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. Another docket entry says Brinkema rejected efforts by Faris's attorneys to obtain documents "relating to or concerning any warrantless electronic surveillance or monitoring" of his conversations by the National Security Agency. ...

Faris is one of a number of terrorism defendants who have filed legal challenges to the NSA program, under which the agency has monitored phone calls and e-mails involving U.S. residents and foreign parties without obtaining warrants from a secret court that handles such matters. ...

Faris is unique among defendants who have challenged the surveillance because Bush administration officials have said he was spied on -- and credited the program with helping to uncover his plot.

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