By Allan Lengel
U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill of Idaho issued this order regarding FBI agent Rebekah Morse, who apparently lied under oath when she told the judge that she turned off her phone and wasn’t texting while on the witness stand. The texts had nothing to do with the case against Diversified Business Services and Investments.
Morse killed herself shortly after she was confronted about the texting.
The judge ordered the government to turn over to the defense information regarding the incident. Below is the court order, which was provided to ticklethewire.com by the website OpenCdA.com.
The Court has examined in camera certain materials submitted by the
Government. The defendants have requested access to all the material. In this decision,
the Court will determine what evidence the defendants are entitled to view.
FBI Agent Rebekah Morse testified for the United States on March 18
2014. On March 19, 2014, during a recess, a juror commented to the Court’s Law Clerk
that Agent Morse was texting while on the witness stand during the time the Court and
counsel were occupied at a sidebar conference. When questioned by the Court about this
concern of the juror, Agent Morse denied texting. She explained that during her
testimony, her phone vibrated, and to turn it off she claimed that she had to first enter her
password. That explanation satisfied counsel and the Court. To resolve the one juror’s
expressed concern – and to address any unexpressed concerns by other jurors – the Court
Case 1:13-cr-00091-BLW Document 441 Filed 03/25/14 Page 1 of 11Memorandum Decision & Order – page 2
instructed the jury that Agent Morse was just turning off her cell phone by first punching
in her password.
The trial then proceeded forward with further cross examination of Agent Morse.
But during that cross examination, the Court reflected further on the matter and became
concerned that the juror had expressed her concern in such a way as to suggest that Agent
Morse may have texted on more than one occasion. Agent Morse’s explanation about
turning off her cell phone on one occasion did not address the possibility that she might
have been texting on two or three occasions. After conferring with counsel, and with
their approval, the Court advised Agent Morse of a potential inconsistency in her
testimony and took possession of her cell phone. Agent Morse was to return for further
testimony the next day, March 20, 2014. Tragically, she was found dead the morning of
March 20, 2014, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Court subpoenaed the text records and the e-mails taken from the cellphone of
Agent Morse for the dates of March 18, 2014, through and including March 19, 2014.
The Court has now received those records and thoroughly examined them – they contain
the contents of all texts and e-mails sent and received by Agent Morse on those two days.
The Court has also examined (1) the FBI’s 302 Report of FBI Agents’ interview with
Agent Wyand who had interviewed Agent Morse during the evening of March 19, 2014;
(2) what appears to be a note written by Agent Morse and found at her home on March
20, 2014; and (3) notes of IRS Special Agent Josh Culbertson on March 19, 2014, when
members of the prosecution team met with Agent Morse.
Case 1:13-cr-00091-BLW Document 441 Filed 03/25/14 Page 2 of 11Memorandum Decision & Order – page 3
With regard to the text and e-mail messages, the Court compared the times they
were sent (or received) to the times provided (to the second) by the Real-Time transcript
of the court proceedings. The only times that Agent Morse texted while on the witness
stand were during a sidebar held on March 19, 2014. The sidebar was held from
12:02:47 to 12:10:41 p.m., and during that sidebar, Agent Morse sent 4 text messages and
received 4 text messages. At no other time during a sidebar on March 18th or 19th did
Agent Morse send any text messages or e-mails.
Read more »