The partial federal government shutdown has delayed criminal investigations and civil cases, Connecticut's top federal prosecutor told The Associated Press.
A wiretap in a criminal investigation could not be continued because of lack of funding, said Acting U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly. She said authorities also have not been able to review proposed reforms by East Haven police as part of a civil settlement of claims that officers engaged in a pattern of discrimination and abuse toward Latinos.
Daly also said the shutdown will result in delays in recovering money for crime victims.
Criminal prosecutors are working without pay. Prosecutors handling civil court cases are asking judges to put them on hold during the two-week-old shutdown triggered by a budget standoff.
"It's undermining of the very critical law enforcement purpose that our office is dedicated to," Daly said. "It's deeply demoralizing."
Daly said plenty of work was still getting done, citing major ongoing trials and the arrest of 24 defendants in Connecticut and other states on drug trafficking charges.
Daly would not disclose details of the investigation related to the wiretaps.
"We had a basis to go forward with the wiretap," she said. "That would have been the best thing to do for the investigation and we're not able to do that. Of course we're going to go at it in every way we can, but this is tying a hand behind your back to a certain degree."
The U.S. attorney's office in Connecticut has 64 prosecutors. Daly said the office is highly productive, collecting about $60 million in fines, settlements and forfeitures which is triple its $20 million budget.
FBI employees also are working without pay. They're performing aspects of the job necessary to protect public safety and property and to ensure the orderly opening and closing of government, said FBI spokesman Daniel Curtin.
The federal shutdown also affects state cases because authorities in Connecticut rely more on federal authorities because of a lack of subpoena power, Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane said.
"There's been an impact on investigations," he said, declining to discuss details.
The shutdown has furloughed 350,000 federal workers and impeded various government services.
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