FBI Agent Jeff Kassouf Says He Listened To Tapes He Didn't Actually Possess

Can an FBI agent listen to tapes the FBI made without “possessing” them?  Can the federal government obtain exculpatory evidence then shift it to a “joint federal state task force” and not provide that evidence to the defense before trial because it’s located at the task force?  Those issues will soon be decided by Judge Susan Paradise Baxter, who recently ordered the government to produce — by February 28, 2017 — all public records and tapes at issue Viola v. Department of Justice, Case No. 15-cv-242.

According to Agent Kassouf’s trial testimony, “either myself or another investigator would listen to” tapes made by the FBI or by law enforcement officers working under his direction at the task force, USA v. Viola, case No. 08-cr-506, trial transcript pages 3678-79.  But the defense never received those tapes — or other exculpatory evidence — before the first trial, prompting a public records suit after the acquittal on the same charges at the second trial.  The FBI recently produced a heavily redacted “consent to wear wire” Form FD-473, dated 3/17/2008 but FBI Agent Jeff Kassouf stated that the tapes he listened to cannot be produced because they “are not in the FBI’s custody.”  The “task force might possibly have those tapes but the FBI does not,” according to an affidavit filed in the public records litigation overseen by Judge Baxter.

“The Justice Department possesses evidence that I used to prove my innocence at a second trial but simply refuses to produce it.” said Tony Viola.  “The government’s recent court filings confirm that key evidence was shifted around in and out of the Task Force, which is what prompted Task Force Office Manager Dawn Pasela to provide the defense with evidence used to win the second trial that prosecutors hid before the first trial.”

To read the FBI’s false affidavit, or other pleadings in the public records suit, kindly consult the Pacer system, case # 15-cv-242, Western District of Pennsylvania or post a request for these documents on the www.FreeTonyViola.com blog.