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DA: Drug convict used Facebook to "out" undercover agent
After the trial in December it was no secret who investigators used as a confidential informant (CI) in the case against 42-year-old David Nowlan of Glens Falls. Nowlan had every right to a jury trial on charges he sold heroin. When he got that trial, the CI - who is identifiable on video used against Nowlan - had to testify, revealing his identity in court. The district attorney says Nowlan took it further and made sure that as many people as possible would learn the name and face of that CI by instructing his girlfriend to post the video on Facebook. The video was obtained through the discovery process leading to trial and was posted after Nowlan's conviction.
District Attorney Kate Hogan points out the advent of the internet, and especially social media sites, allows more people to share more information.
"They have greater access to put pressure on witnesses and as the case shows today, when evidence is turned over during disclosure there can be retribution through Facebook." Hogan said this can have a "chilling effect" on people who might otherwise be ready to help police catch criminals.
During sentencing Wednesday morning, Assistant District Attorney Jason Carusone told the judge Nowlan had asked his girlfriend to put the video online and asked the judge to consider that when passing sentence. Judge John Hall described Nowlan's actions as "troubling". Hall sentenced Nowlan to nine years for one count and nine years for a second count. He said the sentences would run consecutively, pointing out Nowlan was convicted of a felony burglary in 2009.