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Case Against Brooklyn Man Accused Of Having Child Porn Beginning To Collapse

Department Of Homeland Security Said To Have Searched The Wrong Apartment

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A search warrant snafu could mean the case against a Brooklyn man charged with possessing child pornography could be dismissed. And it’s not the first time the agent who led the search has lost a challenge in court.

The child porn case against 30-year-old Yuri Bershchansky is collapsing after a federal judge threw out evidence the Department of Homeland Security seized from his Brooklyn home, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported Tuesday.

Agents had a warrant to search Apartment 2, based in part on a Cablevision bill that listed Bershchansky at that apartment. When agents raided the house they found Bershchansky living in Apartment 1, which was not listed on the warrant They searched it anyway, Aiello reported.

A judge ruled “the agents could have read the warrant carefully. Instead they searched an apartment they were not authorized to search.”

Neighbor Colleen Kiernan said she’s not happy.

“Technicality — they should still take him out!” she said.

But attorney Norman Siegel said the constitution clearly mandates cops be specific about where they want to search.

“I know people will say ‘this creep is gonna be let go,’ but there’s a larger issue. We must follow our constitutional dictates,” Siegel said.

It turns out the search warrant problems that damaged this case in Brooklyn also turned up in a child pornography case in the Bronx — a case that was handled by the very same agent from the Department of Homeland Security, Aiello reported.

A conviction was overturned because Agent Robert Raab searched an upstairs apartment in Belmont — when the warrant specified only the ground floor unit.

“It raises questions about his training and supervision, but it also raises questions it could be that it’s not isolated to this one agent,” Siegel said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement later issued a statement, saying: “Allegations involving potential investigative errors and/or misconduct are treated with the utmost seriousness and routed for appropriate investigation. As public servants working for a law enforcement agency, ICE employees are held to the highest standard of professional and ethical conduct.”

Bershchansky could learn next month if the charges against him will be dropped.

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