A federal appeals court has allowed Rep. William Jefferson to review all the documents taken from his office by the FBI in a May search of his office that stems from an ongoing bribery investigation.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia returned the case to the U.S. District Court and ordered that Jefferson have two days to review copies of the material seized, which includes more than a dozen computer hard drives and two boxes of paper documents.
This would allow the Louisiana Democrat to say which documents are legislative in nature in the hopes of preventing them from being considered by the courts in any further action regarding the bribery case.
The district court also must perform its own review of the documents to determine their admissibility
Constitutional issues aside about the documents seized from his House of Representatives office, the issue is whether a member of Congress is “above the law.” There was a duly executed search warrant and common sense says this was a lawful search.
Perhaps the two days review will allow the appellate court to dispel any impropriety in the separation of powers doctrine.
Jefferson has been under investigation since March 2005 for allegedly using his position to promote the sale of telecommunications equipment and services offered by iGate, a Louisville-based firm, that sought contracts with Nigeria, Ghana and other African nations.
In return for his help, Jefferson allegedly demanded stock and cash payments. The congressman has not been charged and has denied wrongdoing.
The overnight search on May 20 â€” which lasted 18 hours â€” was part of a 16-month international bribery investigation of Jefferson, who allegedly accepted $100,000 from a telecommunications businessman, $90,000 of which was later recovered in a freezer in the congressman’s Louisiana home.
Flap wonders how Jefferson will explain that cold hard cash of $90 grand in his freezer though.
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