Judicial Watch Client Wesley Dutton Brings Lawsuit against Federal Agents in El Paso for Violation of Constitutional Rights
Bivens Action Seeks Justice for Unlawful Detention, Interrogation
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it filed a lawsuit, William Wesley Dutton v. Michael Cordero, Eric Benn and Jane Doe No.1 (Case 2:16-cv-00517-CG-GJF), in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. The lawsuit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, damages, attorney fees and costs, and other relief. Defendant Cordero is a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Defendant Benn is a Special Agent of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General. Defendant Jane Doe No. 1 is believed to be a Special Agent of the FBI.
Since 2009, Plaintiff Wesley Dutton, a graduate of the New Mexico State Police Academy and former State of New Mexico livestock investigator, provided information to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies about illegal activity in Texas and New Mexico, including information about illegal narcotics trafficking, fugitives, public corruption, and terrorism.
In February 2014, Special Agents Cordero, Benn, and Jane Doe No. 1 detained Dutton in the back seat of a locked, U.S. Government vehicle and interrogated him for approximately eight hours. The agents never advised Dutton that they had a warrant for his arrest, that he was under arrest, or that he was suspected of committing any crime. Dutton objected to the detention and repeatedly asked if he was under arrest. His objections and inquiries were ignored. Dutton also invoked his right to counsel. In response to one such request, Special Agent Cordero cursed at Dutton and exclaimed, “You’re not talking to anyone.” Special Agent Benn echoed Cordero’s response to Dutton. Cordero and Benn’s denial of Dutton’s rights, as well as their interrogation of Dutton were laden with profanity and abusive language. They also compelled Dutton to make telephone calls to sources and monitored and recorded the calls.
Defendant Jane Doe No. 1 is believed to be an FBI special agent unlawfully posing as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and falsely offering “immunity” to Dutton for his cooperation.
At the end of the interrogation, Jane Doe No. 1 said to Special Agent Cordero, “You can’t arrest him. We’ve got to let him go.” Special Agent Benn agreed, saying, “You can’t arrest him. I’m satisfied.” Cordero cursed. Ultimately, Dutton was allowed to leave the vehicle, but both Cordero and Benn told Dutton to “keep his mouth shut.” Before the agents drove off, Cordero cursed at Dutton yet again, saying he hoped he never saw Dutton again.
On at least two prior interactions, FBI agents came to Dutton’s home and violated his constitutional rights. In July 2010, FBI agents searched Dutton’s home without a warrant and seized documents, computers, and electronic equipment. In August 2012, Cordero and other, unidentified FBI agents searched Dutton’s home again, also without a warrant, and seized Dutton’s personal property, papers, notebooks, charts, computers, and cell phone. Dutton’s items have never been returned to him.
“Wes Dutton is a hero. A former law enforcement officer, Dutton has a long history of helping law enforcement and intelligence agencies to lock up criminals and defend the country from terrorists. It’s shameful that federal agents would abuse their authority and treat him in such a manner. Judicial Watch is proud to assist Wes in exposing corruption and abuse and remedying this gross violation of his constitutional rights,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.