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Report: Government paperwork mishap could lead to new turn in college hoops corruption case

NCAA Announces Corrective and Punitive Measures for Penn State

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 23: The entrance to the NCAA’s headquarters is seen following an announcement of sanctions against Penn State University’s football program on July 23, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The sanctions are a result of a report that the university concealed allegations of child sexual abuse made against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts related to sexual abuse of boys over a 15-year period. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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The college basketball corruption case took another turn late this week as lawyers for multiple defendants in the case have filed motions to “suppress communications intercepted” in the case.

According to a report from Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, the motion includes wiretaps that gave the federal government critical information in its case. The motion was filed because of multiple potential procedural breaches that the defense argues could taint important evidence.

Perhaps the most important misstep comes in the government’s paperwork to authorize an initial wiretap on Munish Sood -- one of the defendants in the case. The paperwork says, “the Application has been authorized by [FILL IN], Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General.” -- a potential failure that the defense is arguing could result in a breach that could make the wiretap invalid.

The motion specifically cites the United States vs. Scurry case in which asterisks were used instead of an authorizing official. That case’s wiretap was later ruled insufficient as a D.C. Circuit Court ruled that, “it fails to identify the Justice Department official who approved the underlying application.”

As Thamel notes, if that initial Sood wiretap is ruled to be invalid, “it could create a domino effect that would make subsequent wiretaps invalid.”
Besides for the paperwork mishap, the motion claims a “lack of probable cause to search and seize the defendants’ cell phones,” and “overboard warrants.” It also also claimed that an improper interrogation technique was used on Adidas executive Jim Gatto.

You knew that the defendants wouldn’t go down without some kind of fight in this case, but these are some major potential mishaps from the government here. If the wiretaps get ruled invalid then it could change the entire trajectory of the case for multiple defendants as that was some of the major evidence collected by the federal government.

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that an undercover FBI agent has been accused of the misuse of government money on gambling, food and drinks. There is concern that agent could be banned from testifying in the case as well.