BY IMRAN GHORI
Published: 01 November 2011 09:35 PM
The U.S. Attorney’s office will return materials seized in mid-September from Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum during an FBI search at his home and business, according to an order approved by a federal judge Monday.
The order – a result of a stipulated agreement between the U.S. Attorney’s office and Burum’s attorney – represents a reversal by federal officials who in court documents had defended the search as proper and initially rejected requests for Burum’s property to be returned.
As part of the order, the U.S. Attorney’s office also agreed to allow for the appointment of a special master to review material that Burum’s attorney believes is protected by attorney-client privilege and should not have been taken.
“The government’s unprecedented concessions constitute a tacit admission that its warrants are fatally flawed and its agents’ conduct was egregious,” Burum’s attorney, Stephen Larson, stated in a court motion, seeking to bar officials from using copies of the material seized during the searches.
That issue will be heard in U.S. District Court in Riverside on Nov. 10.
Federal agents stated in court papers that they had a separate team of attorneys to ensure that that no privileged material was taken, a procedure commonly followed in federal investigations.
Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, said the stipulation represents a compromise.
“It’s an agreement to advance the ball in litigation,” he said. “We continue to maintain the search was constitutional.”
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