I didn’t think it was possible, but the Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) case just got even uglier.
Today the Justice Department filed their response to Jefferson’s lawyer’s motion, where he argued that the search violated the “Speech or Debate” clause of the Constitution and demanded that the FBI return the seized documents. It is a lengthy, detailed dismantling of that argument – and TPMm readers interested in the Constitutional questions here should give it a read.
But beyond the legal argumentation, prosecutors supply the most detailed version of their case against him so far. And they explain why it is that they needed to raid his office – because they don’t trust him to turn over evidence. According to an FBI agent’s affidavit appended to the filing, Jefferson tried to “surreptitiously remove” documents while the FBI was searching his home in August of last year.
The agent provides a detailed narrative of catching Jefferson trying to hide the document. According to her, Jefferson, while sitting at his kitchen table during the search, hid the papers under a copy of the subpoena that agents had served on him. He then asked to move to the living room after it had been searched and placed the documents in a blue bag there which agents had already been through. She continues:
After several minutes, I approached Congressman Jefferson and told him that I needed to look at the documents that he had placed into the bag. Congressman Jefferson told me the documents were subpoenas. I then reiterated my request to review the documents. In response, Congressman Jefferson removed the documents from the bag and placed the subpoena on top of the other documents before allowing me to review them. Located beneath the subpoena were the documents I previously observed Congressman Jefferson with at the kitchen table. I reviewed the documents and observed that they had been faxed to Congressman Jefferson from an individual named B.K. Son on August 3, 2005 (the same day the search was executed). Noting that the warrant called for, among other things, all communications between Congressman Jefferson and Mr. Son, I collected the documents and turned them into the search team leader as evidence.
It is my belief that when Congressman Jefferson placed documents into the blue bag, he was attempting to conceal documents that were relevant to the investigation….