Just two weeks after Frank James was accused of wounding 10 people during an attack on a crowded Brooklyn train, his lawyers are saying prosecutors aren’t playing by the rules. In a court filing Thursday, his defense attorneys claimed that FBI agents paid a jailhouse visit to the suspect where they improperly took DNA samples. They also say the visit was unplanned.
Following his arrest, Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann (Eastern District of New York) ordered James, 62, to be held at the Metropolitan Detention Center federal jail in Sunset Park. He is being represented by Brooklyn Federal Defenders Dierdre von Dornum and Mia Eisner Grynberg.
The filing, which took place in Brooklyn federal court, explained that the agents went into James’ cell, asked him questions and then used multiple swabs to extract DNA from the inner cheeks of his mouth. The lawyers also implied the absence of a search warrant.
“Contrary to standard practice, the government committed this intrusion absent advance notice to counsel,” the filing stated, “depriving us of an opportunity to be heard or to be present.” The attorneys said the incident occurred Thursday. Prosecutors responded by calling their assertions “hyperbole.” They also said that the “DNA was obtained pursuant to a judicially authorized search warrant.”
James is being charged with a federal terrorism offense for his alleged April 12 attack on a Brooklyn’s 36th street station. The sole suspect set off smoke grenades and opened fire on a subway car. In total, 27 people were wounded—10 from gunfire (no one was killed). He was arrested after a 30-hour manhunt which began in the wake of the shooting. Authorities are currently investigating the motive in James’ attack.