Shire Free Church’s Items Returned By FBI

We have some good news for once from the FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office! After a long legal battle and multiple federal lawsuits, the FBI agreed to return our church property that was illegally seized on March 20, 2016. For those of you not familiar with the backstory, FBI Agents arrived at 73 Leverett Street on that day at 0600 hours and executed search warrant 16-MJ-36-01-06 against the Shire Free Church Monadnock. This raid occurred only two weeks after Minister Mark Edgington on Free Talk Live condemned the FBI for their strategy of running a website that resulted in the distribution of hundreds of thousands of pieces of child pornography to thousands of IP addresses while only making ten arrests. The sealed search warrant was presented in redacted form to the members of the church present for the raid, i.e. Minister Ian Freeman, Parishioner TJ The Spy, and Parishioner James “Robinhood” Cleveland. The warrant alleged that on or about February 20, 2015, someone using the IP address at 73 Leverett Street had accessed the website that was part of the FBI’s vast child pornography distribution network, in violation of 18 USC 2252.

The returned electronic items.

The returned electronic items. Christmas came early!

TJ The Spy confronted the FBI Agents while naked to avoid being shot and immediately informed Scott Bailey, the lead investigating FBI Agent, that all three members of the church were invoking their right to remain silent and asking for legal counsel to be present. See the FBI raid and how to invoke your rights while naked here.  When you invoke your right to an attorney, law enforcement is prohibited from trying to question you until your attorney is present. Despite asking for counsel, one FBI Agent attempted to question the church members by calling them “pedophiles” and asking “You know what they like to do to kiddie-diddlers in prison, don’t you?” TJ responded that all three church members enjoyed the presumption of innocence under law and that a federal judge might think his question was a veiled threat designed to pressure, intimidate, or coerce a subject into waiving their constitutionally protected rights to counsel and silence. In other words, the Agent’s question would taint the voluntariness of any admission and rule the confession inadmissible. TJ then called the Agent an “unprofessional fucking asshole” for attempting to break the law with regards to the Miranda decision. The FBI proceeded to seize all the church members’ computers, cell phones, digital storage media, and cameras.

Fast forward to 2019. After multiple requests to the FBI for the property’s return were ignored, TJ The Spy filed a federal lawsuit pro se (without a lawyer) against the FBI alleging that the search warrant was technically defective under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 41(b).  Since the First Circuit Court of Appeals had already ruled the warrant invalid in another similar case, TJ asked the court for a judicial writ compelling the FBI to return his stolen computers. Faced with the prospect of having to defend an invalid search warrant in open court, the FBI agreed to return the computers belonging to TJ and Robinhood in exchange for dropping the lawsuit. The four computer items were returned unsearched and sealed in their original evidence bags.

A problem occurred when Ian Freeman attempted to get the rest of the church’s property back. Since the remainder of the seized items were owned wholly by the Shire Free Church Monadnock, only a licensed attorney could represent the church before the court. Bonnie Freeman retained Attorney Jared Bedrick from the Champions Law firm in Portsmouth who filed a lawsuit on behalf of the church.  Since the first search warrant was ruled invalid, the FBI applied for and was granted a second search warrant to purge the church’s property of any digital contraband. After much waiting, the FBI finally returned all but two of the seized items to the church. The FBI considers this case closed and no criminal charges will be pursued. Yet the possible goal the FBI might have had in this case, of tainting the reputation of Free Talk Live, the Shire Free Church and certain members, was likely accomplished in many people’s minds. So it is important to remember the fact that the allegations were never proven and no evidence was ever produced.

Now you can subscribe to Free Keene via email!

Don't miss a single post!

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x