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