Mark Davis reports:
Government investigators, acting without a warrant, had no right to search the office of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center psychiatrist who now faces criminal and civil charges, the psychiatrist’s lawyers argue in a recent court filing.
Lawyers for William Weeks of Lyme, N.H., charged with mismanaging contracts between the VA and Dartmouth College, said that criminal investigators improperly justified their search of Weeks’ office by citing regulations that are intended to allow only VA higher-ups, not law enforcement officials, to monitor workplaces.
Weeks, who denies all allegations, has sued the government, accusing investigators of collecting evidence without a warrant and seeking unspecified damages. Agents inspected his office and made a copy of his computer hard drive.
After learning of the government’s investigation, Weeks sought professional help and twice attempted suicide, according to court filings.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Ross has argued that Weeks, as a government employee, had agreed to departmental regulations that allowed such searches. VA policy states that employees do not have a right to privacy while using any government equipment and, simply by using government equipment, give their consent to disclosing information on the equipment to “authorized officials.”
Additionally, Weeks’ computer had a banner that appeared on screen every time he logged on saying that the computer could be inspected at any time.
Read more in the Rutland Herald.