Maybe this National Security Agency spying stuff isn’t so bad after all.
A South Florida man on trial for bank robbery has petitioned the federal government for his phone records, in hopes that they would help his defence, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
Terrance Brown stands accused of conspiring to hold up armoured trucks as they made cash deliveries in Broward County, Florida in 2010.
Federal and local authorities have used mobile phone records to prosecute Brown and his four alleged co-conspirators. They say the records show the men were in the area at the time of the crime.
But prosecutors told Brown’s defence team that his cell carrier, Metro PCS, did not hang on to the records.
Now, however, his attorney hopes the government did, according to the Sun-Sentinel. After last week’s revelations that the NSA collects the call data from millions of unsuspecting Americans, Marshall Dore Louis, who represents Brown, reportedly argued before the court that he hopes the NSA obtained call data that shows Brown was not in the area at the time of the alleged crime.
“The president of the United States has recognised this program has been ongoing since 2006 … to gather the phone numbers [and related information] of everybody including my client in 2010,” Louis told the court.
The Obama administration and senior intelligence officials have maintained that collecting that information is not a violation of civil liberties and is in the greater public interest.
“If the government is spying on our phone calls, it can’t then claim in the same breath that it won’t provide those calls when it helps the defence,” David Oscar Markus, a South Florida defence lawyer who blogs about the federal justice system, told the Sun-Sentinel. “What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.”
Federal attorneys said they need more time to respond to the request, which they said may involve complicated petitions from the Department of Justice.
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