Tuesday, December 18, 2007

abdul's affadavit

ruth holldaday keeps digging into the connections between gossip blog indyundercover and gossiper abdul hakim-shabazz.

as we knew already, the IMPD issued a search warrant for abdul after the indyu blog revealed the name of a confidential police informant... but was quickly revoked it before it could be served against him. though indyu has since been deleted, i reposted the post in question here in a redacted form.

ruth has tracked down a copy of the search warrant:

The affidavit continues, in Boomershine's words, "Following the leak of this information, REDACTED, who was eight months pregnant at the time and a former member of the 2-1 Fatal Gang, feared for her safety and had to relocate where she resided."

The string of arsons -- a terrifying time in Indy for the neighborhoods affected, firefighters and police -- were being investigated, according to the affidavit, by IMPD fire investigators Brian Durham and Sherron Franklin. Franklin is also a member of the City-County Council.

as gary points out, franklin is "a frequent critic of Sheriff Frank Anderson and Mayor Bart Peterson" and indyu promoted her re-election to the city-county council despite the fact that she's a democrat. is it possible she was involved in the leak?

An almost six-month investigation followed, in which police, possibly with the aid of federal officials, began peeling back the identity of IndyUndercover through various e-mail addresses and Internet providers: Yahoo, Google, EOS and finally Bright House.

The trail ultimately led to Abdul Shabazz, according to the affidavit, which also lists Shabazz' Downtown address and phone number. Boomershine identifies Shabazz in the warrant as the IndyUndercover blog's moderator.

Judge David Altice of Marion Superior Court Criminal Division signed the search warrant. Prior to that, throughout August, Grand Jury subpoenas were issued to Google, Yahoo, etc., in the painstaking search to trace the blog back and discover who was running/writing on it.

According to the affidavit, police were prepared to obtain evidence from 1: The residence of Shabazz and 2. His vehicle. They were specifically looking for "any and all computer hard drives, data storage devices" etc. as well as "any indication of criminal activity."

The warrant was signed at 2:21 p.m. Nov. 16.

By 4 p.m. or so, officers were outside Shabazz' Downtown apartment. But before they could serve the warrant, they received a phone call from someone high up in the city, and they were told to "stand down."

Shabazz himself later received a phone call from someone presumably high up in the city, warning him, "Dude, you don't know how close you came."

Based on how few people knew about this investigation, the warning call had to have come from the top, possibly in the office of Prosecutor Carl Brizzi.

we all know what happened then. abdul posted about the warrant on his blog, attempting to deflect attention away from himself by first suggesting he was caught up in an unfair and illegal witch hunt against indyu, and also suggesting that the police might be after him because he was investigating child molestation allegations against a prominent democrat. he almost certainly had to know this second part was false when he said it (and i have my suspicions about whether he was ever seriously investigating such a story).

his attempts at deflection might even have worked, but for the ultimate display of hubris that came next. because then, indyundercover, which had previously announced that it might shut down, suddenly surged back to life in abdul's defense. i know from experience that the temptation to respond to your secret identity online can be great, but it only serves to draw suspicion to yourself, so you shouldn't do it if you truly plan to keep your other identity secret. that post on indyu was a turning point in the narrative—after that, abdul could no longer deny his ties to the site.

he still won't come entirely clean, though. he still pretends that he wasn't behind the blog, though it's clear he was much more heavily involved than he's publicly acknowledged. and the more he tries to deflect attention away from him, the more he calls us bloggers "blog trolls" to "get a life", the more guilty he looks. if only he could've kept his mouth shut...

similarly, questions still surround ike randolph. last week, ike tried to put the rumors to rest by categorically denying that he was involved with indyu, but the story he told ruth was totally different from the one he'd told gary welsh. gary has much, much more about randolph's shadiness here.

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