The Star Tribune Friday asked a federal magistrate to unseal six documents in the case of Buford “Bucky” Rogers, who was arrested in a raid by federal and local law authorities in Montevideo, Minn., in May.
The documents were sealed July 11 by U.S. District Judge Magistrate Jeanne Graham at the request of Rogers’ public defender Andrew Mohring.
Graham had first refused to seal the materials, but changed her mind after reading a letter from Mohring, the contents of which are secret. It’s expected to be taken up at hearing on Tuesday.
Rogers, 24, was arrested May 3 in what the FBI called “a terror plot.” Federal sources told the Star Tribune at that time that Rogers had been involved in discussions involving an attack on the Montevideo Police Department.
However, three weeks later a federal grand jury did not indict Rogers on terrorism charges. He was indicted on four felony counts, including being a felon in possession of a firearm and three counts of possessing “unregistered destructive devices.” The devices included two Molotov cocktails, two “black powder nail devices” and a pipe bomb.
In a filing Friday, a federal prosecutor described some evidence that might hint at what’s in the sealed documents.
“The government intends to introduce evidence at trial that on one occasion approximately two weeks before the search warrant’s execution, the defendant and another individual were observed carrying 4 soft rifle cases into the residence later searched,” prosecutor Andrew Winter wrote.
“The witness was able to observe the stock of a rifle inside one of the cases. The underlying documents related to this incident have been disclosed to counsel for Rogers.”
Winter wrote that after his arrest, Rogers gave a “voluntary statement” in a videotaped interview to the FBI and police. Winter said the interview was prompted by a concern for public safety, and thus did not require a Miranda warning. Winter said that after initial questioning, Rogers was read the Miranda warning and continued speaking. He made more statements while being booked. Mohring seeks to have these statements suppressed.
Winter wrote that he had no confidential informants, but a “traditional witness” was interviewed.
On July 10, Mohring asked for the right to seal specific documents. Graham denied his request July 11, saying “there is no good reason to seal the materials, adding they “are not confidential, prejudicial or otherwise in need of protection from the public eye.”
But on July 12, Graham sealed the documents after getting a letter from the defense that is not in the public file. She said she might later unseal them, noting she remained “concerned” about the defense argument for sealing them.
On Friday, Star Tribune attorney John Borger formally asked to intervene in the case, saying, “The public record to date provides no apparent reason to have any documents sealed.”