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Court declines FBI Jefferson appeal

From NBC's Pete Williams
In something of a surprise, the U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear an appeal involving the FBI's unprecedented search of the Capitol Hill offices of Congressman William Jefferson.

A federal appeals court ruled that the FBI wrongly used its own agents look through the material seized to determine what might be covered by congressional privilege. This is a considerable victory for Jefferson, largely validating his objections to the search and giving him certain bragging rights. But prosecutors claim they have sufficient evidence independent of the search. The cash in his freezer, for example, was found well before Jefferson's offices were searched.

The court today handed down just one decision, a victory for Delaware. The state hoped to stop construction of a proposed British Petroleum liquified natural gas port on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River. The court, acting in its special role as the sole decider of disputes between the states, ruled Delaware has a say in what's built on the New Jersey side of the river involving projects that would extend into the river, where both states have joint authority.