Nebraska mother and she is 18year-old daughter are facing multiple charges in a case in which police received Facebook messages between two that authorities claim show proof of illegal self-medicated abortion, as well as a cover-up plan remains.
Norfolk Police have launched an investigation into Celeste Burgess and her mother, Jessica Burgess. in According to court documents, in late April due to concerns that Celeste prematurely gave birth to a dead fetus. After the two were initially charged, law enforcement continued to investigate and received Facebook messages between Celeste and Jessica that appeared to refer to abortion pills and the burning of “evidence,” according to the copy. of conversation currently in use in the case was contained in court documents. The police claim that after body of the fetus was exhumed and found to have “thermal damage” indicating it may have been incinerated after the termination of the pregnancy, court documents show.
The case began before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. in June. But this highlights en issue digital privacy experts and some lawmakers are sounding the alarm about in recent months: law enforcement in some states could use peoplepersonal data to enforce anti-abortion laws, practice which, as experts fear, may increase after the decision of the Supreme Court. Experts have warned that prosecutors could, for e.g. issuing search warrants tech companies requesting location data, search history or call included in help confirm if someone provided help or assistance in abortion. Burgess case shows how which has, in some cases already takes place to enforce existing laws.
celeste, who was 17 at the time of alleged incident, initially told investigators that she had unexpectedly miscarried a stillborn fetus, and that she and her mother later buried the fetus, according to sworn testimony in support of search warrant. During police interrogation detective she ‘flicked through her messages on her Facebook Messenger account. in trying to figure out the date of her miscarriage, which police say led them to believe it could be more Messages with details of the case and obtain a search warrant, according to court documents.
AT public defender office presents Celeste Burgess, who judged like an adult declined to comment. Counsel representing Jessica Burgess, Bradley Ewalt, also declined to comment.
Investigators served Meta, Facebook (FB) parent Company, with search warrant on June 7 for information pertaining to accounts of Celeste and her mother. Facebook (FB) has become over in results of search warrant within two days. The data provided by the company includes over 250 MB of data associated with Celeste’s Facebook (FB) account and more over 50 MB of Jessica’s account information, such as account informationimages, audio and video recordings, messages and other data, court documents show. The data included direct messaging between Celeste and Jessica two days prior to the “miscarriage/stillbirth” suggesting they were on the pill, and made plans for how to use them and what to do with “evidence”, according to signed affidavit in support of Additional search warrant for Detective Ben McBride of Norfolk Police Department of Investigations.
In a statement Tuesday night on Twitter responds to story about the Burgess case, Meta spokesman Andy Stone said that “nothing in valid warrants we have received from local law enforcement in early June, before the Supreme Court decisionmentioned abortion. AT post Tuesday on this is website titled “Correction Record on Meta involvement in The Nebraska case,” Meta said, “court documents indicate that police were investigating alleged illegal burning and burial at the time.” of stillborn baby. The warrants were accompanied by non-disclosure orders, which prevented us from the exchange information about them. The orders have now been withdrawn.”
Affidavit filed by McBride, detective Burgesses investigation, requesting approval of Facebook’s search warrant noted that it would be looking for evidence related to “prohibited activities.” with skeleton remains,” according to court documents obtained by CNN Business.
After the initial request on Facebook, prosecutors filed an additional search warrant on June 16, who asked for proof of web search or purchase of medicines used for throw out, by the way. Thirteen technology devices owned by the Burgesses were also seized in response to this warrant, according to court documents
In June, Celeste and Jessica were charged. with one count of serious crimes of prohibited actions with human skeleton remains, one number of offenses of concealment death of another person and one number of offenses of false information. Both pleaded not guilty to all three, and the trials were set for later it year. After the police received data from two search warrants, Jessica was later also charged with two additional felonies, instigating an illegal abortion and performing an abortion as a person other than a licensed physician, to which she also pleaded not guilty. A 22-year- the old man wrote out a quote in attitude for supposedly concealing death of another person, according to a May police press release. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, he did not contest the wrongdoing.
The case has previously been reported by the Lincoln Journal Star, Forbes and Vice.
Nebraska currently bans abortion after 20 weeks, a law that was in place since before Roe v. Wade was overturned. According to court documents, Celeste Burgess was 28 weeks pregnant when her pregnancy ended.
Although the Burgesses were indicted before Roe v. Wade was folded back – and protection would not turn to womenactions after the end of pregnancy – the case shows how private information such as direct messages on social media can be used to enforce anti-abortion laws. In 2018, a Mississippi woman was also accused grand jury for second degree murder after at-home pregnancy loss after law enforcement pointed to her internet search results such as “buy abortion pills”, although the charges were eventually dropped.
Captain Michael Bauer of This was reported by the Norfolk Police Department. in an email to CNN Business that officers and detectives can’t comment on cases outside of court.
After the June Supreme Court ruling tech giants mostly avoided talking how they will respond to law enforcement requests for data that could lead to accusation of individuals who seek or provide abortions—even though some of the same companies committed help cover shipping costs for their own employees who need travel to get legal abortion services. asked in June, companies including Amazon, Apple, Google, Lyft, Facebook-parent Meta, Microsoft, Uber, Snap, TikTok and Twitter did not respond. declined to comment or not directly answer questions about how they will process data requests directed to individuals seeking an abortion.
In many cases, tech platforms may have no choice but to respond to legal requests for information. Tech companies have generally said they are complying with government queries data as long as it is consistent with current laws. Now rollback of combined federal protection against abortion with passage of new legislation in multiple states restricting abortion can make it difficult for platforms for fight certain data requirements related to abortion investigations.
In June, Meta responded to questions about law enforcement requests. for data, directing CNN Business to its transparency center and said the company requires government asks to be consistent with law and with the company’s own data policy. “If we determine that government request does not match with applicable law or our policies, we click back and engage a government agency to address any apparent shortcomings. If the claim is illegalfor example, overly broad or legally incomplete in Any way), we will challenge or deny the request,” the company said in a statement.