Victoria Toensing’s Singular Multiple Devices

The government has docketed a less redacted version of the letter it originally posted asking for a Special Master to troll through Rudy Giuliani and Victoria Toensing’s devices to separate out the privileged material. As I predicted, the redacted parts of the letter describe the filter team search conducted on the material seized in November and December 2019.

That makes the argument this argument all the more cynical.

[T]he overt and public nature of these warrants necessitates, as Judge Wood observed, the appointment of a special master for the “perception of fairness, not fairness itself.”

Particularly given the admission that the government already obtained, “certain emails and text messages,” that they expect to find on the seized devices.

Which makes the other details more interesting. The FBI obtained 18 devices from Rudy in their search (though remember that thumb drives may count as a device for the purposes of a search).

But with Toensing, the government showed up with a warrant, “to search premises belonging to Victoria Toensing and seize certain electronic devices” — devices, plural. But the FBI came back with just one device.

So why did the government think they’d come back with multiple devices and where did those devices go?

18 replies
  1. person1597 says:

    Give it up for Vicky T and the MaGa’s Orangy Sky noetic evanesce … Let’s listen…
    “I can’t feel this way much longer
    Expecting to survive
    With all these hidden innuendos
    Just waiting to arrive
    It’s such a wavy midnight
    And you slip into insane
    Electric angel rock and roller,
    I hear what you’re playin'”

  2. Peterr says:

    the government showed up with a warrant, “to search premises belonging to Victoria Toensing and seize certain electronic devices”

    The word that jumps out at me from the quoted search warrant is “certain”. That is, they had identified particular devices they believed might contain evidence related to a particular crime, rather than “we want to go in and take every device we find that might possibly contain the evidence we are looking for.”

    In re-reading the letter her attorneys sent to Judge Oetken, as they were winding up their argument, they wrote “To that point, and exacerbating her reputational harm, Ms. Toensing has an ethical duty . . .”

    Wait a minute: Victoria Toensing gives a damn about her ethical duties? Objection! See “Libby, Irving (Scooter).” Moving on . . .

    Her lawyer’s letter strikes me as written less to protect Toensing and more to probe the DOJ investigators to see what they already know and get a better sense for where they are going. It brings to mind the trolling of the legal system by Concord Management.

    • ThoughtMail says:

      “Certain” (devices, substances, etc.) is a term of art used in Statements of Claim, where attributes or identity of the items sought is subject to investigation (actually *uncertain*), e.g., “Plaintiff lost her footing on certain liquid substances that were present, but which Plaintiff was unable to avoid.” etc.

      It’s an awkward construction, but one I have seen many times. If, in English construction, we were to substitute, e.g., “uncertain liquid substances”, it *could* be more truthful, but the statement would be even less meaningful.

    • emptywheel says:

      They would have known what devices were in contact with, among others, Lev Parnas. They have a great deal of evidence from them, they’re just getting what they need from the lawyers.

      • ThoughtMail says:

        Not necessarily, Dr. E. I believe you’re assuming facts not in evidence.

        Because of the ambiguity in the warrant, we may know that Parnas and/or others communicated items of interest to Toensing’s *location* (perhaps, but unknown by us, an Internet router). It would not be unusual to route Internet traffic through a home wifi when located there (just as I would to minimize data charges on a phone plan).

        Your second sentence is probably true (caveat that “them” refers to Parnas and others). If, indeed, the connections were made through a home router’s wifi, NAT (Network Address Translation) *might* identify IP addresses within the home network, but not devices by name, that were involved in the (email) communication, but those IP addresses *might* also not be stable (routers will routinely renew the same IP addresses to devices, but an (likely) extended absence from the house/network wouldn’t guarantee the same renewed IP address for the phone).

        It seems that there are too many assumptions about evidence that I haven’t seen. I have reasonable doubt that her phone contained everything that they wanted, without more.

        The thing that shouts is that they were satisfied to obtain her phone. That’s it? She has no home internet service? No computer? Just her phone? That’s not easily believable.

        I don’t think I would enjoy writing or editing a pleading on a phone. I also don’t think any competent lawyer would be satisfied with such a setup.

        I also expect that, whatever computer setup she has at home (or on her phone?), she didn’t set up herself, but depended on IT staff or consultants. Subpeona?

        • Rayne says:

          A phone can be more than one device, especially if it’s a dual SIM (physical SIM and an eSIM, or two physical SIMs). No additional network equipment necessary if the user relies on their phone as a hot spot.

        • vvv says:

          She’s a lawyer, and even has clients (not least the failed former pres) with adjacent if not directly related issues to what the subpoenas seem to be about – privilege has to be a concern.

          They are most likely not looking for “a pleading on a phone”, or any pleading.

          Seems to me they might be looking for a particular set of communications, perhaps specific dates, times, and persons contacted, as well as what content they can glean. And/or, it’s always possible she takes notes, photos, makes recordings …

        • ThoughtMail says:

          I was supposing Grand Jury subpoenas to the IT people who set it up, in order to map it out (which may have been done; we don’t know). Not sure how this might impact her husband, though.

  3. joel fisher says:

    Also, iirc, there was no search: she just handed over a phone. It seemed odd then; it still seems odd. I certainly would be willing to bet plenty that she has other devices. Why not at least look for them? And why not say “devices” in the warrant?

      • bmaz says:

        Heh, they always say that. The question is what the further specification was. Usually followed by a “To wit: _ _ and _”. Or an attached schedule.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Speaking of “what else” (or more precisely “Who else”) does anyone know what is going on with Jenna Ellis in connection to the kraken case fallout? Ellis was one of the noisier members of the team and equally as fact-challenged as any of them so the silence surrounding her situation is interesting. Could she be flipping?

  4. may says:

    it’s all true_ish.(except for the politics,no,that’s true_ish too)
    i have 5 pairs of uggies, not counting a badly worn 2 pairs i’m keeping just in case.

    your fake prez lost.
    isn’t that great?

    i reckon those who are sticking to what has turned out to be a
    greasy bugsmear on the windscreen of life,
    are just too embarrassed to admit the have been played for complete mugs.

    happy summer.

    oh ,

    off topic.

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