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Former CIA agent charged with sexual assault argues to get evidence tossed

Brian J. Raymond is urging a federal judge to throw out the evidence after previously pleading guilty to the charges.

WASHINGTON (CN) — Defense attorneys for a former CIA agent accused of drugging and sexually assaulting dozens of women while working at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City tried to poke holes in the prosecution Friday by raising constitutional concerns around the investigation into their client.

John Marston, a partner with Foley Hoag, grilled Office of Special Investigations Agent Mikel Gajkowski about her role in the search and seizure of the two phones that belonged to his client, Brian J. Raymond, on which federal investigators say they found hundreds of photos and videos depicting unconscious women, nude or partially nude, with some showing Raymond manipulating the victim’s limbs as apparent proof of their state.

Marston, over the course of eight hours of cross-examination, alleged that Gajkowski, after already seizing the two phones, violated his client’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights by repeatedly calling him down from hotel room he was staying at in order to obtain access to the devices.

He said that Gajkowski and her fellow agents were unclear with Raymond, intentionally confusing him on whether he was compelled to provide just his fingerprint and Face ID to open the phones – which was all the warrant authorized the agents to do – or if he was also being forced to provide his passcode as well.

The Friday hearing comes after Raymond walked back a previous guilty plea from July 2021, having switched lawyers and asserted that the evidence found on his devices were unconstitutionally gathered.

According to the statement of offense, federal investigators found nearly 500 photos and videos of unconscious women on multiple devices belonging to Raymond. Between 2006 and 2020, Raymond recorded at least 24 unconscious women, nude or partially nude. In interviews with investigators, none of the women said they had any memory of being recorded, nor had they consented to Raymond recording them while unconscious.

According to the statement, Raymond used online dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble to meet women and later invite them to his apartment, where he would get them intoxicated and drug them until they were unconscious.

Gajkowski, while watching police body-cam footage taken from June 6, 2020, maintained that she was not executing the warrant multiple times, rather she was still in the process of executing it when agents called Raymond down a second time.

She testified that she explained to Raymond they could only force him to provide his fingerprint and Face ID, but they could ask him to provide his passcode if he wished. Further, she explained that after Raymond returned to his room, the phones automatically, she had to call Raymond back in order to maintain access to the devices.

The footage showed some overlap in the instructions provided by agents that day, with Special Agent Ted Nelson, who was one of four agents who helped conduct the warrant, telling Raymond that they can compel him to provide his passcode. Marston expressed to Senior U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, a Bill Clinton appointee, that he will be calling Nelson to the stand for further questioning next week.

Justice Department attorney Angela Buckner presented a list of the evidence investigators had found on Raymond’s devices, as well as his iCloud account and Yahoo email, which showed there were at least 24 different women identified among the hundreds of images and photos. Most of the victims lived in Mexico City, with others living in California and Virginia.

Buckner also presented Google and YouTube searches that Raymond allegedly made for “deep sleep won’t wake up,” “unconscious women,” “Ambien” and “passed out.”

As part of Raymond’s guilty plea withdrawal, his defense also argued that he could not have committed some of the charges of sexual assault, as he suffers from erectile dysfunction. In the motion, Raymond’s lawyers further explain that some of the symptoms caused by his condition refute part of the timeline laid out by prosecutors.

“As a person with ED, Mr. Raymond experiences a prolonged refractory period … generally at least 12 hours. Therefore, he asserts that he could not have had sex with Complainant #7 to the point of ejaculation during the night … and then also had consensual sex with Complainant #7 in the morning, which he clearly did, because both he and she remember that occurring,” according to the motion.

Kollar-Kotelly did not pass down a ruling on Friday and instead scheduled time for further cross-examination and witness testimony from additional OSI agents and other witnesses next week.

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Categories / Civil Rights, Criminal

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