Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Court: Govt. cannot examine seized Rep. Jefferson material


Rep. William Jefferson denies wrongdoing amid the ongoing probe.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the government -- temporarily, at least -- cannot examine material seized as part of a May 20-21 FBI search of Rep. William Jefferson's Capitol Hill office.

In a written order, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the action would give the court time to consider a motion filed by Jefferson's lawyers, seeking to bar any use of the documents. That effort seeks to overturn U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan's ruling, issued earlier this month, that deemed the search constitutional. (Full story)

The appeals court noted their order was temporary and "should not be construed ... as ruling on the merits" of Jefferson's legal motion.

The Louisiana Democrat is the subject of a criminal probe into allegations he accepted bribes in return for using his office to facilitate business ventures in Africa. In court documents, prosecutors said $90,000 in cash was found in the freezer of his Washington home when it was searched last summer.

The eight-term lawmaker has not been charged and denies wrongdoing.
Posted By Kevin Bohn and Kelli Arena, CNN America Bureau: 7/26/2006 01:19:00 PM ET | Permalink
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