Gerritsen Beach man Yuri Bershchansky was targeted by federal agents for downloading child pornography, but might get off due to poor paperwork on the part of the Department of Homeland Security. The New York Daily News is reporting that agents misidentified his apartment number in a search warrant.
In court papers, Bershchansky, 29, had admitted to downloading child porn, telling federal agents that he was bored with regular pornography. Bershchansky went as far as purchasing his mother a laptop so she would never discover his horrendous collection of child pornography that he was allegedly hording on his desktop computer.
With Bershchansky having admitted his guilt following his initial arrest in 2010, the Daily News described how the feds might have botched the case entirely:
A sworn affidavit signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan Azrack of the federal court in Brooklyn said there were two front doors to the residence on Gerritsen Ave. and accurately stated the suspect lived in the apartment “to the right.”Before executing the search warrant, agents spoke with a woman who lived in the upstairs apartment — the door to the left, which is actually Apt. 2 — and she confirmed Bershchansky lived downstairs with his mother, according to court papers.
But Cablevision told the feds that the Internet subscriber who downloaded the sickening images was in Apt. 2.
Agent Robert Raab “accidentally switched” the apartment numbers on the affidavit and “transposed” Nos. 1 and 2 without realizing the mistake, prosecutor Kristin Mace argued.
U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto wasn’t buying the government’s explanation that the “technical error” should not invalidate the warrant and the evidence.
“The agents did not take every step that could reasonably be expected of them,” Matsumoto wrote in a 71-page decision.
The government is considering appealing the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals
Gary Farrell, Bershchansky’s lawyer, praised the judge’s ruling and is now trying to get the electric bracelet attached to his client’s leg removed.
“It sounds corny, but the constitutional prohibition against unreasonable search and seizures has to mean something,” Farrell told the Daily News.
Bershchansky is currently out on $60,000 bail.