Constitutional Law

FBI turned off hotel Web service then sent 'repairmen' to get evidence, defense lawyers say

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Against the advice of a federal prosecutor, FBI agents turned off the Internet service at three luxury hotel villas in Las Vegas and then sent “repairmen” in to collect evidence for a sports-betting case, defense lawyers say.

The allegations are the latest in a trifecta of recent news reports claiming that federal agents inappropriately used the Web in its efforts to pursue criminals, the Associated Press notes.

The feds also have been accused of taking over the Facebook account of a cooperating witness without her permission, and linking a faked Associated Press news article to a teen’s MySpace account in order to plant law enforcement malware on his computer.

Defense lawyers for four of the defendants charged in the Las Vegas case filed a motion Tuesday in federal court there. It seeks to suppress evidence because of alleged violation of search and seizure rules.

Attorney Thomas Goldstein told the AP the defense learned what had happened by reviewing video recordings on which one official referred to turning off Internet service.

“They were trying everything they could to get inside without a warrant,” he said of the FBI.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Las Vegas declined to comment.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal provides details about the criminal case.

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