Attorneys for Bob Holloway say an anonymous blog that accuses government agents of wrong- doing raises serious concerns about the investigation into the motorcycle shop owner.
Holloway, 61, was indicted last year on charges that included racketeering and trafficking in stolen motorcycles. The charges followed a multiyear FBI investigation into Holloway and his Road Dog Cycle Shop in Denair. Holloway is in custody awaiting trial. The court recently approved his transfer from the Fresno County Jail to a Fresno halfway house.
During the probe into Holloway, investigators wiretapped his phone and recorded his calls. An anonymous blog, www.cleanupatf.org, alleges that investigators got permission for the wiretap under false pretenses.
In most cases, wiretaps must be approved by a judge. To get permission to tap someone's phone, authorities must prove that they've exhausted all other means of investigation.
An anonymous posting on www.cleanupatf.org alleges investigators on the Holloway case were determined to get a wiretap, so they lied "about failed investigative techniques that had allegedly been exhausted to justify the tap."
The anonymous writer claims to be a former supervisor with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The person claims to have corresponded with a prosecutor about his concerns.
Defense attorneys filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Fresno asking prosecutors to disclose any evidence or documents about the blog and the allegations on it.
Prosecutors fought the motion, saying in a court filing that whoever posted the allegations is a "disgruntled former employee."
Prosecutors added, "The government should not have to be forced to respond to every anonymous posting on the web regarding what any person can allege occurred during the course of a federal investigation."
Judge Oliver W. Wanger heard arguments from both sides at a hearing earlier this week. Wanger ordered prosecutors to produce any relevant evidence at hearing scheduled for June 18, defense attorney Bill Osterhoudt said.
The person who posted the accusations on the blog is anonymous on the Internet, but he or she is expected to testify at the June hearing, Osterhoudt said.
Bee staff writer Leslie Albrecht can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2378.