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Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Wiretaps upheld in Scottsdale bombing case (USA)

A federal court judge has ruled that wiretaps taken during an investigation into the 2004 mail bombing is admissible as evidence.

Twin brothers Dennis and Daniel Mahon are scheduled to stand trial next year in the bombing that badly injured Don Logan, who ran Scottsdale's diversity office at the time. He recovered and now works for Glendale. The Mahon brothers, 60, are avowed White supremacists with ties to White Aryan Resistance, a neo-Nazi supremacist organization, authorities said.

U.S. District Judge David Campbell wrote in his Sept. 27 order that attorneys for the Mahon brothers did not show that the wiretap was unnecessary.

"The wiretap was sought primarily to record communications between Dennis Mahon and his brother, Daniel, and other target subjects because of the long-standing relationships and trust these individuals have in each other. The affidavit explains why other investigative techniques would not capture those communications or the information contained therein," Campbell wrote.

The attorneys for the brothers had argued that a confidential informant working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives coerced Dennis Mahon into incrimination himself based on the sexual nature of their friendship.

In a motion filed Sept. 7, Deborah Williams, Dennis Mahon's attorney, wrote that in February 2005, a confidential informant working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives "launched an emotional assault on Mr. Mahon that was both outrageous and 'shocking to the universal sense of justice.' "
The motion contends the tactic violated Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination. The informant, Rebecca Williams, said in court that ATF agents recruited her in 2005 to get information on the Mahons. Williams was paid for every contact she made. She testified that she was promised $100,000 if the men were convicted.
Williams met the Mahons in January 2005 at a campground in Oklahoma. She would engage them in conversations inside vehicles that were wired to record the conversations, she said. Williams said she told the Mahons a story about a child molester she knew in California and the Mahons agreed to help her build a bomb to send to the person.

In January 2008, Williams visited the Mahons again in Rockford, Ill. Williams was staying in a motel also wired to pick up their conversations, with ATF agents in a room next door. Dennis Mahon spent the night with her in her room. Federal agents arrested the brothers in Illinois in June 2009.