Courtroom Staff, Freaked Out By FBI Agents, Failed To Record Important Terrorism Court Hearing

from the spooked dept

We just wrote about the hearing in the 7th Circuit appeals court concerning accused terrorist Adel Daoud, highlighting how Judge Richard Posner had turned it into a secret hearing, kicking everyone but DOJ officials out of the courtroom at one point. One of the reporters in the room (prior to being kicked out), Michael Tarm, had tweeted that everyone should look for the recording of the oral arguments on Thursday “if only to hear Posner” yell: “Look! You answer my questions, not your questions!”

Except, if you looked, you would never find that recording. Because it doesn’t exist. The court clerk, who’s been doing this for 25 years, says his staffers “goofed” and failed to record the hearing at all, in large part because they were so spooked by FBI agents crawling all over the court room for hidden microphones.

Though hearings before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals are routinely recorded and published on the court’s website, Court Clerk Gino Agnello admitted Thursday his staff “sort of freaked out” before Wednesday’s hearing in the case of alleged wannabe South Loop bar bomber Adel Daoud.

Court staff who operate the audio recorder saw FBI agents sweep the courtroom for bugs and “misinterpreted” that to mean they shouldn’t record the hearing, Agnello said.

And, of course, because these hearings are normally recorded, there was no one there to do standard stenography. Instead, the transcript is often written up after the fact… based on the recording. Ooops. Except, you know, not “oops.” This is a pretty big screw-up, considering the importance of our supposedly “open” judicial system. Daoud’s lawyer, Thomas Durkin, properly points out that “this is what happens when people get scared,” and shows how difficult it is to have a fair trial when so much is “driven by fear-mongering.”

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Comments on “Courtroom Staff, Freaked Out By FBI Agents, Failed To Record Important Terrorism Court Hearing”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Yeah, no

At this point, the government does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. Everyone but the judge and the DOJ gets kicked out of the court-room and the one bit of evidence as to what went on in the room during that period is completely gone because of an ‘oops’ moment?

As for the ‘misinterpretation’ that caused the staff to turn off the recording devices, somehow I doubt that was a ‘misinterpretation’ at all. The DOJ agents may or may not have said anything directly(with no recording, it’s impossible to tell), but it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if there were more than a few ‘suggestive’ looks aimed at the people running the recording gear.

When it comes down to it, it could very well have been an honest mistake, but with the government’s almost religious view on secrecy(‘secrecy is it’s own reward, it’s to be applied as much as possible, and never, ever questioned’), and the lengths they’ve gone to maintain it, even in cases where it makes no sense, they’ve long lost any benefit of the doubt in cases like this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Yeah, no

At this point, the government does not deserve the benefit of the doubt.

In an innocent-until-proven-guilty system, the prosecution should never have the benefit of the doubt because that belongs solely to the accused. When the prosecution has the benefit of the doubt we have a guilty-until-proven-innocent system.

Anonymous Coward says:

Everyone was kicked out, including the defendant’s lawyer, because classified information was being discussed. Yet low-level courtroom staff members were allowed to stay in the courtroom and listen to the briefing?

Things just aren’t adding up. Why would low-level courtroom staff members be in the courtroom during a classified briefing? If the briefing wasn’t classified, why was the defendant’s lawyer told to leave?

This my friends, is what’s called tyrannical justice. Secret courts, with secret laws, being dictated by executive branch secret memos.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Yep this is the open society they claim to give us.”


Not Open society. That died with Nixon.
Its an Ownership Society. Installed fully by the Bush dynasty.

In case you’re not aware of the meaning of an Ownership Society, it simply means the Golden Rule.

Those who own the Gold, make, but need not obey, the Rules.
Only those who own no gold, must obey the rules.

Dirk Belligerent (profile) says:

Hanlon's Razor, anyone?

Hoo boy, the paranoia is deep here. Funny thing is that I’m fairly certain everyone here with their tinfoil flags flying voted for Emperor Obama because they thought they were going to get free stuff and he was so cool and for history, etc.


And you re-elected him because you hated the rich guy and no way are Republicans gonna get your vote because mean racism uncool blah-blah-woof-woof.

Good job, twerps. Perhaps you should go beyond Jon Stewart for information.

rapnel (profile) says:

Re: Hanlon's Razor, anyone?

Good one. A perfect illustration of infighting designed to hamstring the public and influence votes. More votes for idiots by idiots whose continued presence and ineffectiveness is paid for with corporate money and rich guy speech.

Tinfoil? You need to wake the fuck up. If you’re not angry you are an idiot. Emperor Obama, indeed. When your choice is a list of chumps imposed on us by other chumps with yet more chumps lined up on two sides of an imaginary line that serves to separate us all with bullshit rhetoric about surmountable issues and slicing up the pittance in public funds that goes towards everything but secrets, arms and more secrets. Secrets that are sucking up our treasure because you fear for your safety more than our prosperity and our rights. All of our treasure used directly against our best interests as a people. You’re just as fucked as the rest of us only you think your fucked because .. because Obama. Good one, smart guy.

The throne of the executive is too powerful and too far reaching. The judicial branch is now fully embroiled and the integrity of SCOTUS was compromised years ago. Between the capacity of the armed forces and the department of justice we’re a kept people… fucking side show carnival government.. freedom and justice for all. Whatever, prick. Have fun riding your blood red republican dream all the way to insanity, meat bag.

There’s civil unrest brewing. When rebels rebel unrest will inevitably result in conflict. Erase the state of the secret state or erase the constitution. I see we’re headed arrogantly down the easy road.

Thanks for nothing and may your children’s grandchildren reap the rewards we have yet to sow.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I suspect that in a few years, we will learn that the Fed placed a Gag-Order on the court personel.

They were ordered to not record and also ordered to not tell anyone that they were ordered to not record.

This appears to be standard procedure by the Fed today – use the law against the public. The public truly is the “adversary” of the Fed.

GEMont (profile) says:

“this is what happens when people get scared,” and shows how difficult it is to have a fair trial when so much is “driven by fear-mongering.”

It should also be pointed out that this is a great example of how well inducing fear can work in favor of the bad guys – in this case the FBI.

Sadly, I can no longer see these tri-letter agencies as anything but The Bad Guys. Good guys simply don’t operate this way.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:


Fear is the greatest weapon in the arsenal of the Bully, the Mobster, the Dictator, and the Fascist – or Corporate Government.

Fear has a history all its own.

It is why most Americans are willing to give up their freedoms and rights in return for the promise of security and safety, and why they now have neither safety, nor freedom.

There is no reason to fear an honest democratic government.

There is obviously no honest democratic government in the USA today.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

?I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.?

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