Constitutional Law

Defendant files challenge to warrantless wiretap powers

A man with alleged ties to an overseas militant group is challenging expansion of warrantless surveillance by the U.S. government.

Jamshid Muhtorov, a 37-year-old originally from Uzbekistan who moved to suburban Denver in 2007, is facing charges of providing and attempting to provide material support to a group considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, Reuters reports.

Muhtorov has the distinction of being the first defendant to be formally notified by federal prosecutors that the evidence against him was gathered under the the controversial 2008 amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which authorized the National Security Agency to gather information from phone and Internet providers.

Lawyers for Muhtorov and the American Civil Liberties Union are challenging the amendment to the law, saying it runs afoul of the Constitution’s unreasonable search and seizure protections by permitting the collection of communications without a warrant.

A motion filed in federal court this week in Denver asks that information collected be suppressed. A previous challenge to the law failed in the U.S. Supreme Court last year on standing grounds.

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