WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a ruling that the FBI violated the Constitution by searching and seizing documents in the office of Rep. William J. Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat who has been indicted on bribery charges.
Without comment, the justices turned down the Department of Justice’s request to overturn the D.C. Circuit’s ruling that the FBI violated constitutional separation of powers by letting agents look through the Congressman’s files in the May 2006 search for evidence of alleged corruption.
The appeals court told the FBI last August to return legislative documents to Jefferson, saying the methods used to search the office violated the “speech or debate” clause, which is meant to prevent the executive branch from intimidating legislators over their work.
The ruling did not affect evidence seized in a separate raid on Jefferson’s home, including $90,000 in cash found wrapped in aluminum foil and stashed in his freezer.
Jefferson has been indicted on charges of bribery, racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering and obstruction of justice for allegedly using his position to influence business deals in Africa.