Defendant Hasbajrami’s Challenge to Warrantless Surveillance

United States v Hasbajrami, Crim. Docket No. 11-623 (S1)(JG) (EDNY filed)In April 2012, Brooklyn resident and Albanian citizen Agran Hasbajrami pled guilty to providing material support for terrorism before Judge John Gleeson in the federal district court for the Eastern District of New York, and on January 8, 2013, he received a fifteen year sentence. By letter dated February 24, 2014, the government provided Hasbajrami with a Supplemental FISA Notification that some of the evidence or information that it had intended to use against him had he gone to trial was derived from electronic communications acquired under Sec. 702. While stating that Hasbajrami’s guilty plea deprived him of the right to use the Supplemental Notification as a basis for vacating his plea or contesting his sentence, the Government also stated that it would not oppose modifying the existing briefing schedule to allow Hasbajrami to amend his pending habeas petition.

On June 30, 2014, Hasbajrami filed a motion for discovery and incorporated memorandum of law, and  August 8, the government filed a response.

On October 3, 2014, Judge Gleeson ordered that Hasbajrami would be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea on the ground that “he was not sufficiently informed about the facts. … When the government provided FISA notice without FAA notice, Hasbajrami was misled about an important aspect of his case.” At 6. Subsequently, on November 26, 2014, Hasbajrami filed a motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of Section 702 surveillance, which was supported by an amicus brief co-authored by the ACLU and EFF.

After denying Hasbajrami’s motion to suppress, Judge Gleeson set a trial date of July 13, 2015. On June 26, 2015, Mr. Hasbajrami entered a conditional guilty plea which allows him to challenge the legality of the government’s warrantless surveillance on appeal. On August 13, 2015, Mr. Hasbajrami was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment.

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