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The Associated Press

An attorney for Steve Powell said this morning that investigators frustrated by their unsuccessful quest to find his missing daughter-in-law pursued an “illegal” warrant that eventually led to voyeurism charges.

Mark Quigley said that evidence gathered during a search of Powell’s home last summer should be suppressed. Powell’s daughter-in-law, Susan Powell, disappeared in 2009.

Quigley said the warrant was a fishing expedition designed to gather general evidence against Susan Powell’s husband, Josh, who eventually killed himself and the couple’s two young children earlier this year.

“This investigation was stale,” Quigley said. “The police were frustrated.”

The warrant was focused largely on collecting Susan Powell’s journals, in which she had expressed a wish for her husband to sever ties with his father. She also described Steve Powell as a pedophile.

Prosecutor Grant Blinn said the warrant was justified in part because investigators needed to pursue all aspects in their effort to find Susan Powell.

“They need to look into all the leads — look into who she had relationships with and the nature and extent of those relationships,” Blinn said.

Authorities said the warrant uncovered thousands of images of females being videotaped without their knowledge, including Susan Powell. Some of the girls were as young as 8.

Steve Powell has pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled to begin in two weeks.

Investigators have said they are still interested in speaking with Steve Powell about the disappearance of his daughter-in-law. They say he has been uncooperative in that investigation.

Authorities say that Steve Powell’s bedroom also contained images of nude female bodies with Susan Powell’s face copied onto them, according to court documents.

Josh Powell was a person of interest in his wife’s disappearance and had lost custody of his two sons. On Feb. 5, he grabbed them during a visit near Puyallup, slammed the door on the social worker, and killed them and himself by setting the house on fire.