A federal magistrate has approved a search warrant application by the FBI to scan a laptop and hard drive seized six years ago from Keene libertarian activist Ian Freeman for alleged possession of child pornography, according to court documents. bottom.
Freeman sued an FBI agent in federal court last year to return the device. He claimed he was entitled to return his property, including the archives of his online radio programs, because he had never been charged with possessing illegal images.
In response, last week another FBI agent filed a search warrant, alleging that the government still had probable cause and that at least one computer or hard drive was not scanned because of an encryption problem. bottom. The agency said it now has the technology needed to do the final cleanup of the electronics.
“The FBI wants the device returned, but is concerned about doing so because it remains suspected to contain child pornography,” the government wrote in its search warrant application. increase.
Authorities waited “with great care” not to violate Freeman’s constitutional rights and requested a second search warrant more than six years after the original was granted. Said there was
In a statement to NHPR, Jared Bedrick, the attorney representing Freeman in the matter, said his client “denies knowledge of contraband” regarding the device.
Freeman was convicted last month of financial crimes stemming from operating a cryptocurrency exchange. He is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in April.
He pleads not guilty in either case. Freeman has several unsuccessful runs for public office in New Hampshire as well as hosting a radio talk show. He is also pastor of the Shire His Freedom Church that he founded.
In a legal document last March, Freeman claimed that the FBI’s first search warrant was improperly granted and that “after six years, the sum of the government’s efforts is nothing.”
In a search warrant application filed earlier this month, the FBI claimed investigators searched two computers in 2016 and found “suspected child pornography,” but the FBI has not filed criminal charges. I didn’t. The government said it was unable to scan all the seized electronic devices due to encryption software.
The FBI wrote in its application that it offered to remove the device before returning it to Freeman, but he refused the offer, requiring a new search warrant.