The government lost its motion to detain fake federal officers Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali. I posted the government’s memorandum in support of the detention motion here on Sunday with my own notes and queries.

Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey remained unimpressed by every element of the government’s argument. Deeming the defendant’s conduct “sophomoric,” he seems to see them in the light of a Coen Brothers movie in the making.

The defendants were to be released to home confinement (with their fathers) under specified conditions yesterday unless the government appealed Magistrate Judge Harvey’s order to the federal judge assigned to the case yesterday. Among the reports on the ruling (which appears to have been delivered in open court) is the Daily Mail story updated yesterday. The Daily Mail followed up with an excellent exclusive reporting that the government did not appeal and that it has sighted Taherzadeh home with his father in Virginia. The Daily Mail quotes dad: “Everything is beautiful, everything is good. There is nothing else to say now.” Can we talk about the movie rights?

The Washington Post reports on Harvey’s order here, NBC here, and CNN here. The Post story quotes Harvey: “The federal government has proffered zero evidence the defendants intended to infiltrate the Secret Service for a nefarious purpose, or even that they specifically targeted the Secret Service. At this point, there has been no showing that national security information was in fact compromised.” He also cited the modest sentencing guidelines that come with the charges in the event of conviction.

The government’s hand was forced prematurely when then defendants learned they were under investigation and started disposing of evidence on social media. The story they presented to Magistrate Judge Harvey seems laughable to me. It doesn’t add up. What were they doing? Where did their funds come from? We shall see. At this point in every imaginable respect the case is an embarrassment to the authorities.

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