U.S. Supreme Court to weigh secrecy, national security issues in suit over FBI surveillance of O.C. Muslims

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide whether a lawsuit can go forward in which a group of Muslim residents of California allege the FBI targeted them for surveillance because of their religion.

It’s the second case the court has accepted for the fall involving a government claim of “state secrets,” the idea that the government can block the release of information it claims would harm national security if disclosed.

As is usual, the court didn’t comment Monday beyond saying it will take the case, which is expected to be heard after the court takes its summer recess and begins hearing arguments again in October.

In the other state secrets case the justices have accepted they’ll decide whether a Palestinian man captured after the Sept. 11 attacks and detained at the prison on the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, can get access to information the government classifies as state secrets.

The case the court accepted Monday involves three Muslim residents of Southern California who say that from 2006 to 2007 the FBI paid a confidential informant to covertly gather information about Muslims in Orange County, based solely on their religion.

A district court dismissed the case after the federal government invoked the state secrets privilege. The court agreed that continuing the case would “greatly risk disclosure of secret information.” But an appeals court reversed the decision.

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‘Mum’s the Word Bandit’ pleads guilty in O.C. to three bank robberies, one attempted robbery

SANTA ANA — A 59-year-old Fullerton man dubbed the Mum’s the Word Bandit pleaded guilty Monday to three bank heists and one attempted robbery.

Steven Barry Reisman, who is scheduled to be sentenced June 18, could face up to 80 years in prison, according to federal court papers filed on Friday.

Reisman admitted robbing a Bank of the West branch at 4501 E. La Palma Ave. in Anaheim, and getting away with $2,324 on May 18, 2017, according to court papers.

He also attempted to rob a Bank of the West branch at 12709 Valley View Ave. in La Mirada on July 7, 2017.

He admitted again robbing the Bank of the West branch in Anaheim on July 10, 2017, of $900.

He took $1,985 from a Bank of the West branch at 1330 S. Beach Blvd. in La Habra on July 12, 2017, according to court papers.

Reisman was arrested about 90 minutes after robbing that bank, according to the FBI.

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