I wrote an article about the importance of third party verification of digital evidence a while back. It is the only way to know for sure that the evidence — the files or search terms or whatever is pertinent to the case were actually searched for by the accused. It is standard procedure in civil or criminal cases to procure this verification – it is irrefutable proof of the time of the search along with the IP address of the search. If this isn’t done, uncertainty will always remain about whether the files could have been planted on the machine. It is an easy step to confirm the evidence. They never bothered to do this with the Google search evidence in Brad’s case.
I came across a recent case in Pittsburgh. A research doctor is accused of poisoning his wife and investigators allegedly found some incriminating search terms on his computer. They followed the standard procedure of requesting verification of the search terms through Google’s legal department – common practice! I just wanted to share it here to show an example of the proper procedure to confirm that we are indeed prosecuting the person who did the searches in question.
I won’t go into the details but I believe it’s well known now that there were multiple anomalies associated with the files on Brad’s computer that were consistent with files that are dropped onto a machine from an external source – a disc or USB.
Search warrant – details of Google inquiry