assigned the responsibility of functioning as a "Chinese Wall" during the search and seizure to ensure that the other agents would not come in contact with such potentially privileged documents. Special Agent Wadsworth briefed Special Agent Huff at length about the scope of the investigation and of the intended search, so that Huff could perform the privilege-screening duties on site during the search. Agent Rosado, who has special training in the retrieval of computer files, was assigned the task of seizing materials in defendant Danzig's computer files. Agent Wadsworth knew that computer files would be part of the search because he had observed a computer in defendant Danzig's office when he interviewed Danzig there on July 11, 1996. (Gov. Ex. 4, P 13). Rosado was a member of the FBI's Computer Assisted Recovery Team ("CART"). Instead of seizing defendant's computer hardware, Agent Rosado was able to copy defendant Danzig's electronically stored files on to computer equipment that Rosado had brought to the search. Rosado remained busy with these computer retrieval chores all day, copying the electronic disks but not producing or printing any paper copies.
Agent Wadsworth testified that all telephone logs, telephone messages, and information on computer was seized without independent review by Wadsworth himself. Agent Wadsworth personally reviewed all other documents and files, however, to determine whether seizure of the items would be permissible under the warrant. The other agents initially scanned potentially relevant documents, using the search plan and looking for evidence of fraudulent schemes involving the same pattern and modus operandi as was employed in the allegedly fraudulent schemes concerning which the government already had knowledge. Then, Agent Wadsworth, as the agent most familiar with the case, made the final determination concerning whether seizure would be appropriate within the warrant's terms.
According to Agent Wadsworth, out of approximately 200 boxes of documents in defendant Danzig's office, only five boxes of documents were ultimately seized. (Gov. Ex. 4, P 21). The parties agree, however, that the agents seized approximately half of the documents in the office that pertained to the time period of 1992 through 1995. The government explains this substantial 50% ratio by arguing that within that time period, defendant Danzig's business affairs were pervaded by fraud.
Mr. Danzig was allowed to be present during the search. Afterward, the FBI furnished a detailed inventory of all documents taken, along with copies of same; defendant has pointed to no document that is beyond the scope permitted by the warrant, nor has defendant indicated that any seized document is within a privilege.
I find the testimony of Special Agent Wadsworth to have been credible and candid. His testimony was comprehensive, convincing, and essentially unrebutted. He described a careful and deliberate investigation of wide-ranging wire and mail fraud schemes in New Jersey, Virginia, and Florida. In general, he amply demonstrated that the agents participating in the search of defendant Danzig's premises used care and good faith in endeavoring to abide by the terms of the search warrant while conducting their search as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Defendant's contentions in support of his motion to suppress may be grouped into two general areas of inquiry: 1) whether Magistrate Pizzo issued a valid warrant that was sufficiently particularized and not a "general warrant"; and 2) whether the government's search team acted in good faith and properly executed the warrant. The court will address each of these questions separately.
I. The Validity of the Warrant Issued by Judge Pizzo
A. Whether the Warrant Was a "General Warrant"
One of the primary arguments made by defendant on this motion is that the warrant to search defendant's premises was so overbroad as to constitute an impermissible "general warrant."
The prohibition against general warrants stems directly from the text of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which requires that all warrants describe "particularly . . . the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." As interpreted by the Supreme Court, this language prohibits a "'general, exploratory rummaging in a person's belongings.'" Andresen v. Maryland, 427 U.S. 463, 480, 49 L. Ed. 2d 627, 96 S. Ct. 2737 (1975) (quoting Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 467, 29 L. Ed. 2d 564, 91 S. Ct. 2022 (1971)). "The particularity requirement 'makes general searches . . . impossible and prevents the seizure of one thing under a warrant describing another.'" United States v. Christine, 687 F.2d 749, 752 (3d Cir. 1982) (quoting Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192, 196, 72 L. Ed. 231, 48 S. Ct. 74 (1927)). On the other hand, "'no tenet of the Fourth Amendment prohibits a search merely because it cannot be performed with surgical precision.'" United States v. Conley, 4 F.3d 1200, 1208 (3d Cir. 1993) (quoting Christine, 687 F.2d at 760). The terms of a search warrant must be read in context and not in isolation, in order to determine whether the warrant is sufficiently specific. Id.
Magistrate Judge Pizzo approved a warrant which found probable cause to believe that evidence of mail fraud and other crimes would be found at Mr. Danzig's business premises, as described with greater particularity in Attachment A to the search warrant. Attachment B, which is attacked as a general warrant, reads as follows:
[An authorized officer of the United States may seize from the premises in question] evidence of violations of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371, 1343, 1621 and 1623 between 1992 and 1995 by Edmund R. Danzig, Patrick Gawrysiak, a/k/a/ Patrick Gray, Thomas Fox, and their co-conspirators, by entities under their joint or several control, including Terra Ceia Ventures, Inc., Presidential Realty, Inc., Great American Raceways International, Inc., Gray Enterprises, and Potomac Capital Ventures Corporation, or by persons acting on behalf of these persons or entities, including Richard Katz and Roger Scully. This evidence includes drafts or final versions of notes, letters, memoranda, fax cover sheets, ledgers, checks, check books, phone logs, address books, phone calling records, phone message slips, contracts, agreements, trust indentures, security guarantees, stock and bond certificates, financial statements, and any and all other records of, or pertaining to, the following persons or entities:
Edmund R. Danzig