(Ken Silva, Headline USA) As per a judge’s order, a mentally ill teenager targeted in an FBI counterterrorism sting operation is restricted from accessing records about the undercover informants he chatted with online before his arrest.
The judge’s order was made on Oct. 5 in the case of Davin Meyer, who was arrested in July as he was about to board an international flight in Denver, allegedly to travel to the Middle East and fight for ISIS. Meyer was 18 years old at the time of his arrest, and had been communicating with FBI informants since he was still a juvenile.
Meyer’s mother, who originally approached law enforcement out of concern for her son, said that the FBI entrapped the boy.
Following his arrest, Justice Department prosecutors sought a protective order to keep records about the FBI informants secret.
Meyer’s attorney initially objected to the protective order, which allows Meyer’s attorney—but not Meyer himself, unless he’s with the lawyer—to review records about the FBI informants. The protective order also restricts Meyer from taking notes while reviewing evidence.
The attorney representing Meyer had dropped his objections to the protective order shortly before it was granted in October. However, he said last week that they agreed to the protective order to avoid delays in receiving discovery.
Meyer’s lawyer has also argued that his client already saw records about the FBI informants, and therefore the DOJ hasn’t explained how allowing him to review those records alone would jeopardize security.
“This is a case about communications between a teenager with well documented mental health issues and two undercover agents,” Meyer’s attorneys said. “Nothing yet has been disclosed that suggests additional undercover operations implicating national security were in effect.”
In his motion last week, the attorney asked the judge to modify the protective order to allow Meyer to review FBI informant records without the presence of a lawyer.
“Mr. Meyer requests that he be able to access the [confidential human source] material in a manner similar to how he views all other discovery materials—in a supervised room with a computer and thumb drive containing the discovery materials,” the lawyer said.
“Further complicating his review of discovery in the currently imposed protective order is that fact that Mr. Meyer is housed in a county jail over two hours away from counsel’s office. Counsel does not have the resources, funding, or time to drive four hours each time Mr. Meyer wants to review the CHS Materials,” he said.
“To deny this reasonable request impacts Mr. Meyer’s ability to aid in his defense.”
The judge ordered the DOJ to respond to Meyer’s motion by Dec. 18.
Meyer is one of at least four teenagers to be arrested this year after being targeted in FBI online sting operations.
Before Meyer was arrested in July, the FBI announced in June that it arrested 18-year-old Mateo Ventura for intending to support ISIS. However, Ventura’s father, has also accused the FBI of entrapping his son.
A protective order is also in place for Ventura.
That order appears more limited in scope, only prohibiting the public disclosure of evidence about undercover FBI operatives. However, the order in Ventura’s case indicates that he wasn’t just targeted by FBI informants, but also by undercover federal agents and employees.
“The defendant and all counsel (the ‘parties’) are hereby bound to … restrictions with regard to any actual or cover name, identifier, or online account name used by any FBI Confidential Human Source (‘CHS’), FBI Online Covert Employee (‘OCE’), or FBI Undercover Employee (‘UCE’) and sensitive discovery material provided in this case,” the order in Ventura’s case states.
Along with Meyer and Ventura, the FBI announced in August the arrest of a 17-year-old boy for supposedly plotting to carry out an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack on American soil.
Most recently, a Catholic family claimed their 15-year-old son was arrested after being targeted by FBI operatives online.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.