A lawyer for the Kansas newspaper that was raided by police claimed that data was cloned from their computers before the court ordered the devices returned.
The newspaper’s attorney, Bernie Rhodes, accused the county of cloning information from at least one computer after discovering a missing USB drive was among the returned material.
“It further appears that during – or after – the raid someone used this controller to copy or clone data from one or more Registry-owned computers,” Rhodes wrote in a letter to the county, threatening contempt of court.
“This access is illegal. It also clearly violates the District Court Order of August 16, 2023.”
Rhodes delivered the letter to Marion County Councilor Bradley Jantz on Thursday after the newspaper discovered that one of the seized items, the USB drive, had not been returned. The lawyer demanded that the device be returned, as Judge Ben Sexton had previously ordered that the evidence be “released and returned” to its rightful owners, according to KWCH.
The attorney said he discovered the missing item because the inventory list filed with the court and the list his forensic expert received did not match. The second list, which was given to the forensic expert after the search warrant was withdrawn, included the USB drive.
The newspaper’s attorney, Bernie Rhodes, accused the county of cloning information from at least one computer. Mark Reinstein/Shutterstock
The lawyer said the inventory list that was filed with the court and the list that his forensic expert received did not match. KWCH 12 News
“No one has yet been able to explain to me, despite the publicity, despite my threat of contempt, despite the threat that we’ll have to go back to get a second injunction, why there are two lists,” Rhodes said, according to KWCH.
“The purpose of an inventory list is to maintain what we call a chain of custody so that it is clear what was taken so that it can be used in court later. Without a valid chain of custody, this is all rubbish,” he continued. “The fact that we have two different versions of the same inventory, apparently signed by the same officer, on the same date, using the same form, with the same official number, is rubbish.”
“While the apparent alteration of the inventory list raises serious questions, what is clear is that item 9 of the inventory published by the Court has not been ‘released and returned’ as ordered by the Court,” Rhodes wrote in the letter.
The attorney threatened to hold the sheriff in contempt of court if the county did not return the USB drive. Jantz later returned the flash drive, gave him the copied data, and said that all copies would be destroyed. PA
The attorney threatened to hold the sheriff in contempt of court if the county did not return the USB drive. Jantz later returned the flash drive, gave him the copied data and said all copies would be destroyed, KWCH reported.
As of Saturday, the Marion County Record reported, no agreement had yet been signed between the county attorney and Rhodes.
The newspaper plans to sue the boss, which Rhodes says is his “only option.”
“We’re going to have to sue the chief, we’re going to have to sue the police department, and we’re going to have to sue the city of Marion to find out the truth.”
The Record was raided on August 11 and police confiscated its computers, cell phones and informational materials amid a dispute with a local businesswoman.
The newspaper’s owner, Eric Meyer, called the timing of the raid “suspicious” upon discovering that the probable cause affidavit was filed three days after the searches were conducted.
He also attributed the raid to the death the next day of his 98-year-old mother, a co-owner of the newspaper.