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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Data obtained in search warrants likely to be focus of status conference in Vázquez Garced case

Former Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced

By The Star Staff

A status conference in the corruption case filed in federal court against former Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced and two others is slated for today as the defendants objected to the use of a filter team by prosecutors to evaluate privileged information obtained in search warrants.

Meanwhile, lawyers for Julio Herrera Velutini and Mark Rossini, who were accused along with Vázquez Garced in a corruption scheme, sought an order enjoining federal prosecutors from continuing their “unilateral and procedurally flawed review of attorney-client and work product privileged electronic data” obtained through search warrants.

A similar request was made by Vázquez Garced recently.

The lawyers said the government only within the past several weeks advised them that it has been in possession of their privileged data (attorney-client and work product) for well over two years and only now within the past month commenced a “filter team” review of the electronic data.

“The volume of this data could reasonably dwarf the size of the discovery produced to date, as it contains seized data from approximately 32 electronic accounts and devices,” the lawyers said. “It is not only surprising but profoundly concerning that this electronic data was not subjected to any filter team review prior to the indictment being returned in this matter. Given the volume and nature of the data, it is reasonably certain that it contains Brady which should have been evaluated and considered as to whether charges were even warranted in the first instance.

The materials were seized as a result of search warrants directed to Herrera-Velutini’s and Rossini’s email accounts and iCloud backup of their phones. In the case of the email accounts and iCloud backups, the warrants were issued to third party electronic communications providers and thus Herrera-Velutini and Rossini did not receive any information.

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