The Inside Story of FBI’s Historic Raid on Capitol Hill

May 22, 2006 1:41pm

The FBI’s raid on the office of Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA) was the first such raid on Capitol Hill in history and came about only after lawyers for the House of Representatives refused to turn over the material the FBI sought, according to officials familiar with the case. At the request of the FBI, the House General Counsel’s office had secured copies of the documents and computer files being sought in the bribery investigation from Jefferson’s office. But officials say the House lawyers then refused to turn over the documents to the FBI. The refusal by the House Counsel led the FBI to seek a search warrant from Judge Thomas Hogan to send agents into Jefferson’s Rayburn Building office, room 2113, according to officials. "Left with no other method, the government is proceeding in this fashion," states the search warrant application filed by FBI agent Timothy Thibault. The warrant was issued by Judge Hogan last Thursday and instructed Capitol Hill police "to provide immediate access" to Jefferson’s office. FBI agents went into the building around 7:15 Saturday night. Officials say the agents used a special team "to minimize the likelihood that any potentially politically sensitive" items were removed. In a statement today, Jefferson’s lawyer called the FBI action "outrageous." There was no immediate comment from the House General Counsel.

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