federal agents say f*ck the 4th amendment, and f*ck diplomatic immunity we is the government and we can search anybodys home we want to. we got guns and we go badges so f*ck you!
Attorney jeers search of home of PV socialite
Dennis Wagner The Arizona Republic Feb. 22, 2006 12:00 AM
An attorney for Paradise Valley socialite Sonia Falcone questioned whether federal agents violated diplomatic immunity when they raided her family's property Friday. The attorney also criticized the government for sending an "army of agents" to conduct the arrest and search.
Falcone, the Bolivian wife of globe-trotting businessman Pierre Falcone, is under indictment on charges of immigration fraud and perjury in conjunction with her application to become a U.S. citizen. Grant Woods, a former state attorney general, said at least 30 investigators descended on the couple's home, seizing a computer and other items. Woods said he is at a loss to explain the government's actions in relation to what he described as "Mickey Mouse charges."
"What doesn't match up is what she's charged with and the show of force in the search of the place," he said. "You just have to wonder what it's all about."
A search warrant affidavit has not been unsealed. Mary Beth Pfister, a federal prosecutor in the case, declined to comment on the search. However, the Falcones' $10.5 million mansion Valley covers 14,000 square feet and thus could occupy investigators for some time.
Woods noted that Pierre Falcone holds an Angolan appointment to a United Nations agency. He said the defense team is trying to determine whether agents violated international diplomacy by searching the residence.
Pfister said her office conducted that research already and determined that Sonia Falcone "is not entitled to any form of diplomatic or consular immunity in the United States," either as a principal or a dependant.
Federal authorities allege that Sonia Falcone's first marriage 23 years ago was a sham carried out for immigration purposes. The statute of limitations expired on that matter, Woods said, but she was indicted on charges of falsifying information about the marriage on naturalization papers filed more recently.
Pierre Falcone has been at the center of international turmoil for nearly a decade, linked to the shipment of Soviet-bloc tanks and helicopters to war-ravaged Angola in return for future oil profits. Critics say the corruption and armaments added misery to Angolans as they endured poverty and civil war. The nation's president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, has cast Falcone as a hero who saved his countrymen from genocide by rebel forces.
Global Witness, an international human rights organization, identified Falcone as a key player in the "gruesome tale of money laundering and state robbery at the expense of the long-suffering Angolan people."
The Franco-Brazilian entrepreneur repeatedly has denied wrongdoing. He was jailed in Paris during 2000-01 while prosecutors investigated the case known as Angolagate. After his release on $15 million bail, Falcone left France and was appointed by his friend dos Santos to the U.N.'s Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization , securing diplomatic immunity.