Editor’s note: The really surprising part is that Nina Totenberg asks if it is OK for the state to violate the Fourth Amendment. She appears to be as clueless about the Constitution as many of her liberal comrades.
Some legal cases do more than raise eyebrows — they push the legal envelope to change the law. Such is a federal case in Las Vegas now working its way through the courts.
The question is whether federal agents can disrupt service to a house and then, masquerading as helpful technicians, gain entry to covertly search the premises in hopes of finding evidence that might later justify a search warrant.
The defendants in this case are not your everyday Americans. They are, in fact, Chinese gamblers who were staying in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace earlier this year.
Caesar’s, and other gambling casinos, thrive on these high-rollers and provide them with free villas, butlers and other services. But in this case, at least one of the high-rollers had been tossed out of Macau for running an illegal sportsbooking operation. That fact made the Nevada Gaming Commission and the FBI suspicious that the high-rollers were doing the same thing here.
Suspicions, however, aren’t enough for a search warrant. So, according to court papers filed by defense lawyers late Tuesday, the FBI came up with a plan: Working with a computer contractor for Caesar’s Palace, the agents first tried to get into the villas by delivering laptops and asking to come in to make sure the connections worked.