High court sides with government on frozen assets

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says people whose assets have been frozen amid suspicion of illegal activity have no constitutional right to a hearing to plead for access to their money to mount a defense against criminal charges.

The justices on Tuesday voted 6-3 against a New York couple who have been indicted on charges they stole medical devices. The government froze their assets, including the $500,000 they set aside for their legal defense.

The Supreme Court has previously upheld the government's ability to put a hold on property and money that can be tied to illegal activity, but had never ruled whether defendants are entitled to a hearing first. Lower federal courts were divided over whether a hearing is necessary.

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