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Judge rejects Durham motion to throw out indictment

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A federal judge on Thursday rejected Indianapolis financier Tim Durham’s months-long quest to have his indictment dismissed on the grounds that the government used wiretaps before it had court authorization to do so.

The ruling by U.S. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson is a big setback for Durham and his attorney, John Tompkins, who in court papers had alleged “outrageous government misconduct.” Tompkins had sought dismissal, or at least a court order suppressing all the wiretap evidence the government obtained.

Magnus-Stinson dispatched Tomkins’ arguments in a six-page order. She said this federal circuit does not recognize a doctrine of outrageous government conduct. So, she said, that would not be grounds for dismissal even if proven.

And she seemed untroubled by FBI testing of the wiretap on Nov. 2 — four days before a federal court authorized tapping of Durham’s cell phone.

“Given that Mr. Durham has been unable to marshal any case authority for his claim that merely testing software in anticipation of obtaining judicial authorization violates the statute, the court finds the … testing here — conducted on FBI lines with only an FBI technician speaking — falls within the express authorization that Congress provided the wire-tapping statute,” Magnus-Stinson wrote.

“FBI technicians can conduct as many audio tests using their own phone calls as they wish.”

Federal prosecutors have used the wiretaps to help build a case that Durham, owner of Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co., was operating the business as a Ponzi scheme.

FBI agents raided Durham’s office atop Chase Tower in Indianapolis and Fair’s Akron headquarters in late November 2009, about a month after the wiretapping began. Fair Finance never reopened.

A grand jury in March 2011 indicted Durham, Jim Cochran and Rick Snow on charges of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud.

Durham and Cochran co-owned Fair Finance, while Snow was chief financial officer.

Prosecutors say that after buying Fair in 2002, Durham and Cochran raided its coffers to fund a lavish lifestyle as well as a host of money-losing businesses they controlled.

Authorities say Durham and Cochran pulled money out with such abandon that they left Fair without the means to repay Ohio investors who had purchased unsecured investment certificates from the company. More than 5,200 investors are owed more than $230 million.

Snow is accused of participating in the fraud, but unlike Durham and Cochran he isn’t accused of taking out millions of dollars in insider loans he lacked the means to repay.

Durham, Cochran and Snow deny wrongdoing. They’re all scheduled to stand trial in June.

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  1. Someone off their meds? C'mon John, it is called the politics of Empire. Get with the program, will ya? How can we build one world under secularist ideals without breaking a few eggs? Of course, once it is fully built, is the American public who will feel the deadly grip of the velvet glove. One cannot lay down with dogs without getting fleas. The cup of wrath is nearly full, John Smith, nearly full. Oops, there I go, almost sounding as alarmist as Smith. Guess he and I both need to listen to this again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRnQ65J02XA

  2. Charles Rice was one of the greatest of the so-called great generation in America. I was privileged to count him among my mentors. He stood firm for Christ and Christ's Church in the Spirit of Thomas More, always quick to be a good servant of the King, but always God's first. I had Rice come speak to 700 in Fort Wayne as Obama took office. Rice was concerned that this rise of aggressive secularism and militant Islam were dual threats to Christendom,er, please forgive, I meant to say "Western Civilization". RIP Charlie. You are safe at home.

  3. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  4. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  5. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

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