and say ANYTHING about it.
DETROIT - An FBI agent who led the investigation of nine Michigan militia members charged with trying to launch war against the federal government couldn't recall many details of the two-year probe yesterday during questioning by defense lawyers.
Even the judge who must decide whether to release the nine until trial was puzzled.
"I share the frustrations of the defense team … that she doesn't know anything," U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said after agent Leslie Larsen confessed she hadn't reviewed her notes recently and couldn't remember specific details of the case.
Prosecutors fought to keep Ms. Larsen off the witness stand, saying the defendants had no legal right to question her.
But the judge said the agent's appearance was appropriate because the burden is on defense lawyers to show their clients won't be a threat to the public if released.
The nine lawyers asked specific questions about each defendant. Ms. Larsen said she had not listened entirely to certain recordings made by an undercover agent who infiltrated the group.
She said that because they were still being examined, she didn't know if weapons seized by investigators last month were illegal.
At other times, Ms. Larsen couldn't answer questions because she said she hadn't reviewed investigative reports.
Defense lawyer William Swor asked if the No. 1 defendant, Hutaree leader David Stone, had ever instructed anyone to make a bomb.
"I can't fully answer that question," the agent replied.
My first thought, on reading this bullshit, is "Well, this agent decided she didn't actually want to commit perjury after all. And is trying desperately to talk around the lies." I mean, come on; she 'hadn't listened entirely to'? She 'couldn't remember specifics'?
And I must point out that, assuming you're being honest about it, it doesn't take long to determine if a firearm is legally owned. Is the barrel or overall length below legal minimum? If so, does the NFA database show a permit? Is it automatic or semi? If auto, see 'NFA database for permit'. And so forth. If they've had the stuff for a month and still can't decide, either they haven't actually checked or they're legal and the feds don't want to admit it.
And that crap about "You have no right to question her"? She was part of the investigation, wasn't she? In charge of it, in fact? So why the hell should the defense NOT be allowed to question her?
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Waterstreet played an audiotape of what he said were several militia members talking freely about killing police.
The participants talked over each other, often laughed and made goofy noises and disparaging remarks about law enforcement.
Prosecutors objected to questions about interpreting the secretly recorded conversations, but the judge said they were fair game.
The judge will resume the court hearing today.
Well, hell YES they're fair game, since they're part of the evidence. And if nobody actually said what the EffingBI claims they did...
I borrow Insty's line: Well, they got the headlines they wanted after the arrest, anyway.
These guys may actually be the kind of people you wouldn't want as neighbors, they may actually have done something illegal: but the burden is on the state to PROVE IT, by legal and correct means. If they can't legitimately do that, then either they effed-up the case and blew it, or the case was bullshit.
At this point, how many votes for 'bullshit'?