Clavir et al. v. Levi, et al. – Government Misconduct – CCR Docket 1976-1977

This case concerns the discovery of an illegal tracking device on a car owned by Judy Clavir and Stew Albert, friends of enter attorneys Bill Kunstler and Margaret Ratner. Clavir and Albert had come from upstate New York to vis it them when a small electronic device call e d a beeper, which emits periodic signals t ha t ca n be picked up  on a radio frequency, was discovered under the rear bumper of the car. The beeping device, it was later discovered, was number 107 of an  ap­parently large number of such devices used  by police and the F.B.l. As they were leaving the city, Clavir and  Albert noticed a three- a r la il following them. They decided not to leave and joined Ratner and Kunstler for  dinner at a  local restaurant . Two young women entered the restaurant, took  a flash pic­ture of them and left Th re was also evidence of’ a live tap on the telephone where they  were  staying.

On the basis of these  facts and  other instances of surveillance on   Clavir and Albert, a federal civil rights action was  filed in March, 1976. The F.B.I. answered the complaint in June, admitting various   kinds  of surveillance   against   Kunstler,   Clavir and Albert, including mail covers, bumper beepers, physical surveillance and   wiretapping.

About two months  later, as a result  of a grand jury in­vestigation into illegal activities by the F.B.l., an amended answer was filed admitting to a series of what the F.B.I. called ” black ba g jobs” (burglaries) at the house of Clavir and Albert. The F.B.l. also admitted it had placed a bug in the house.

Discovery has begun and at the deposition the first F.B.I. agent took the Fiftth Amendment, on all questions but his name. F.B.I. Director Kelley has dis claimed  responsibility for the act ons of his agent s but   it is  believed that iie was  not without knowledge  of some of  their activities.

We expect discovery to take a year, and believe that we will uncover many more illegal actions by the F.B.l., which should result in the indictment of various F.B.I. ofiicials.

Michael Ratner with Paul Chevigny, NY CLU