Polk County Sheriff’s investigator testifies regarding journalist’s hard-drive destroyed in police custody

EGF City Attorney Ronald Galstad desperately attempts to steer issue away from evidence of illegal activity by police

by Timothy Charles Holmseth

Are Officials employed by the City of East Grand Forks actively committing felonies in effort to cover-up other felonies?

Courtroom testimony from a Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) investigator has created serious questions about a bizarrely over-zealous Minnesota Prosecutor and scandal ridden police department.

Sgt. Michael Norland, supervising investigator, PCSO, testified at the Polk County Justice Center in Crookston, Minnesota on Monday, where a Motion to Compel was heard regarding a hard-drive that was seized by the East Grand Forks Police Department (EGFPD) from the home/office of Timothy Charles Holmseth (this reporter throughout), author/journalist, in December of 2012.

The Motion to Compel was filed by Holmseth, who asserted the EGFPD, after being ordered by the Court to return his property; maliciously returned the hard-drive inoperable.

The computer was turned on and running when it was seized by police. According to industry specialists at Best Buy Inc., the computer’s contents can now only be retreived through a special procedure in an out of state forensic lab costing thousands of dollars.

Holmseth suggested in his Affidavit that a solution to the dispute would be for the City of East Grand Forks to provide him with a ‘copy’ of any ‘mirror’ drive that had been created by law enforcement.

East Grand Forks City Attorney Ronald Galstad told the Court that Sgt. Norland had assured him no copy had been made. “There is no copy in the State’s possession,” Galstad said.

Galstad appeared anxious to establish that no copy existed – and to leave it at that. He did not call upon any officers from the EGF City Police Department that also handled, possessed, or transported the seized computer and hard-drive.

Holmseth requested a chain of evidence log from EGFPD Police Chief Michael Hedlund on November 19, 2013 but was told it could not be made available to him before the hearing.

Holmseth presented Galstad with a written Request for Production during the hearing, which requested the chain of evidence log, as well as all communications between local law enforcement and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) pertaining to the case.

Galstad, appearing defensive, expressed he would not be providing Holmseth with any of his requests.

Honorable Tamara Yon advised Parties that Sgt. Norland, who was present, should take the stand and be questioned for the official record regarding the matter.

Norland told Galstad during questioning that EGFPD Officer Aeisso Schrage presented him with Holmseth’s hard-drive in December of 2012. “He asked me to look for any illegal activity,” Norland said, adding that nothing was found.

Search warrants are a legal device designed to protect citizens from overly intrusive searches, which created questions about Schrage’s blanket request that Norland search for “any illegal activity”.

Norland did not state whether or not Schrage provided him paperwork that constituted legal authorization to search Holmseth’s hard-drive.

Holmseth approached the ‘search’ issue during his questioning of Norland, a pursuit that appeared to make Galstad uneasy – resulting in a series of objections being made by Galstad.

Holmseth asked Norland to describe the procedure he follows to determine whether or not he has the legal authority to actually enter into a computer hard-drive and initiate an official investigation.

Galstad immediately objected to the question on the grounds that it was not within the scope of Holmseth’s actual Motion – the objection was sustained by Honorable Yon – a pattern that was largely repeated as Holmseth probed Norland regarding legal authorization to search, significant dates, and chain of custody.

Holmseth’s line of questioning, while met with many sustained objections, may have inadvertently told the whole story.

The original Search Warrant, signed by Honorable Jeff Remick in December of 2012 contained no language or instructions that would authorize or direct a forensic search of Holmseth’s computer’s hard-drive.

It was only authorization to ‘seize’ and ‘retain’.

The Petition for the Search Warrant, which was signed by Shrage, lamented to the Court how a situation existed regarding the potential destruction of evidence. “The property or things above-described are in danger of loss, destruction or removal as Timothy Charles Holmseth denied allegations that he is in violation of the sentencing order dated October 29, 2012 and evidence to prove the allegations would be contained above-referenced would be contained on or in the property or things above described,” Shrage said.

Norland’s statement that nothing illegal whatsoever was found on Holmseth’s hard-drive was only the beginning of what appeared to be an intentionally planned Gestapo move by the EGFPD.

Holmseth’s simple profession of his very innocence had resulted in a search warrant that justified four armed police officers in bullet proof vests storming his home/office to seize his telephones, cameras, audio recorders, flash drives, video recorders, cassettes, journalistic work product, computer, hard drive, U.S. Mail, and credit card numbers.

The ganster tactic appeared to specifically focus on and target Holmseth’s teenage daughter who was traumatized as a 6′ 6″ police officer was attempting to enter the bathroom where she was dressing.

EGFPD Detecive Chris Olson asked the minor girl where she worked. The very next day, Olson appeared at the restaurant for breakfast so the young girl would have to wait on him. She called her father crying.

The Search Warrant is now in serious question. The actual directives and language used by the District Judge that signed the Warrant is quite compelling.

The Search Warrant instructs the EGFPD to “…seize the described property and things, and to retain them in custody subject to court order and according to law.”

Holmseth pointed out to Honorable Yon that the Warrant did not contain any language directing law enforcement to enter and search the hard-drive – only to “retain” it.

Galstad argued to the Court that Holmseth’s Motion was not regarding the legality of the search, and he continuously steered the subject away from that topic.

At one point, Galstad suggested the matter was all over with because the case was “closed”. Judge Yon, appearing baffled by Galstad’s non-sensical assertion, replied, “It is?”

Mild tension grew in the courtroom as an Officer of the Court (Galstad) appeared to have something to hide. One fact emerged during the hearing that creates serious questions about the integrity of Galstad, the EGFP and their interest in Holmseth.

Holmseth reminded Honorable Yon that during the very first court hearing following the execution of the December, 2012 search warrant, Galstad advised the Judge in open court that the “Bureau of Criminal Apprehension” had refused to conduct a forensic examination of Holmseth’s computer without the issuance of another “warrant”. Galstad also told the Judge at the prior hearing that he was going to be seeking another warrant.

There is no indication that Galstad ever obtained the warrant he knew be legally needed to continue meddling and tampering with Holmseth’s computer and hard-drive.

Sgt. Norland stated under oath he conducted his examination of the hard-drive in “March” of 2013. This fact demonstrates Galstad was aware that the BCA had opined the Search Warrant had no provisions for a forensic search, yet, he continued to support what appears to be an entirely illegal search.

Many questions now exist regarding Holmseth’s hard-drive – exactly what investigative journalistic work product Norland witnessed on the hard-drive? – and how the hard-drive suddenly came to be inoperable upon return to Holmseth by Shrage.

Clues are not far away, and could indicate Galstad and Hedlund have attempted, through their actions and in-actions, to allow the deliberate destruction of evidence by police officer(s), directly related to their very own inefficiency and misconduct as it relates to a federal kidnapping.

In 2010 the Jacksonville, Florida FBI requested the Minneapolis FBI obtain recorded interviews from Holmseth, which he acquired during a freelance journalism project he endeavored upon with major players in the national profile case of the missing child HaLeigh Cummings.

Holmseth, an award-winning newspaper reporter, acting on a tip from Teresa Neves, grandmother, missing child HaLeigh Cummings, alerted the FBI that whoever faked the little girl’s picture for an online charity scam may know the whereabouts of the child.

With nothing but his instincts as a news reporter, Holmseth researched the scam website, contacted the web designer, and obtained the actual original photographic files that were emailed to the designer by one Donna Wagoner, Xentel, Inc.

The FBI visited Wagoner at Xentel, Inc.

Wagoner called the EGFPD and complained about Holmseth to Lt. Rod Hajicek. She asked Hajicek to telephone Holmseth and tell him Xentel didn’t want him to write his charity fraud story.

Hajicek telephoned Holmseth and leaned on him to not publish anything about Xentel, Inc.

Emails that Holmseth obtained from Polk County Attorney Greg Widseth reveal that Hajicek was communicating with a web blogger named Art Harris during the Xentel incident. Harris told Hajicek the FBI went to Xentel to question his friend and he was furious about it. Harris wanted Holmseth arrested. Hajicek then contacted Widseth to see if there was anything they could charge Holmseth with.

A cursory online search reveals Xentel, Inc. has been sued by Attorneys General in the states of Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, South Carolina, and Colorado for charity scams and defrauding the public.

In 2012, South Florida insider, Edward Boyle, reported that his sister, Maria Burgun, Florida, had recently met with the Southern District FBI organized crime task force and reported that one of the people that faked the missing child’s picture had admitted it to her – one of them being Donna Wagoner.

Holmseth’s information had been one-hundred percent on target. He had brought federal investigators closer to the missing child than any lead they had ever had.

Burgun also provided the FBI with information about a car that was cynically hidden under a tarp in a Florida machine shop, and possibly painted, shortly after HaLeigh Cummings was sighted in the same color car in April of 2009.

EGFPD incident reports that began to be filed in June of 2009 against Holmseth, immediately after he conducted interviews on the Cummings kidnapping, contain valuable information for investigators seeking to understand the behavior of Galstad and Hedlund.

Holmseth has been in contact with Minnesota Attorney General.

Timothy Holmseth is now seeking an attorney to represent his legal interests in this matter. If you are an attorney, or know an attorney, that would be interested in discussing this with Timothy (me) please contact me at tholmseth@wiktel.com or telephone me at 218.230.1310 or 218.773.1299.

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