Oregon Standoff Trial Starts; Feds Admonished

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Opening statements in the Oregon standoff trial are set to begin today, The Oregonian reports. Federal prosecutors will be able to use Facebook account information on defendants obtained through a search warrant, but U.S. District Judge Anna Brown plans to admonish the federal government “for its lack of diligence” in failing to seal or quickly destroy the Facebook material deemed irrelevant to the case.

Seven of 26 defendants are on trial, charged with conspiring to impede federal employees from carrying out their work at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge through intimidation, threats, or force. The case stems from the 41-day occupation of the refuge. Defense attorney Per Olson had urged the judge to suppress the government’s Facebook account data for disregarding search warrant terms that required sealing irrelevant material after a review. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Bradford conceded that the court “may find the government didn’t seal information when it should have,” but he argued that neither the prosecutors nor the FBI engaged in “indiscriminate fishing” of the Facebook material seized.

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