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The Department of Justice and FBI recently began reviewing 10,000 cases to look for flawed forensic evidence that might have convicted innocent people.The FBI and DOJ had previously formed another task force in the ’90s to investigate flawed evidence, the Washington Post reported in April.
The FBI director from 1993 to 2001, Louis Freeh, launched that task force with then-Attorney General Janet Reno.
After nine years of working in secret, the unit neither published its reviews of specific cases nor informed potentially innocent defendants or their attorneys, according to the Post.
But ex-FBI agent and whistleblower C. Fred Whitehurst told William Fisher of Prism magazine that Freeh’s action were similar to those of PSU officials because Freeh “did everything in his power” to cover up mistakes made by FBI forensic analysts:
“While I was reporting issues at the FBI crime lab, FBI Director Louis Freeh was doing every thing he could to shut me down including coming at me with proposed criminal charges, referrals for fitness for duty (psych evals), destroying my career, moving me around the lab like a rag doll, ruining my wife’s career. This man has no conscience and he is accusing Penn State managers of not taking any steps. He ought to be ashamed. Before the lab scandal is over you will find that Freeh was right in the middle of it. He did EXACTLY what the Penn State folks did.”
We reached out to Freeh’s law firm – Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP – but Freeh was unavailable for comment.
Last week Whitehurst told Prism that the number of cases based on falsified or scientifically unfounded forensic evidence actually number in the hundreds of thousands because the FBI taught its forensic techniques to local, state, and federal crime lab personnel for decades.
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