Attorney General’s documents ordered unsealed
LAS VEGAS – A district court judge on Tuesday ordered the unsealing of documents and videotapes in a case involving claims the state Attorney General’s office conducted a secret probe of casino regulators.
Judge James Mahan gave Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa’s office until April 4 to appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.
”The First Amendment is the first of the amendments for a very good reason,” Mahan said. ”I’ve carefully weighed this. I’ve given it my best judgment.”
The Las Vegas Sun and KLAS Channel 8 pressed for the release of the documents and videotapes, which former Gaming Control Board Chairman Bill Bible and others think will show Del Papa’s office conducted an illegal investigation.
The Sun and Channel 8 had sought to gain access to the tapes and about 900 pages of documents recently turned over to Mike Anzalone, a former investigator in the Attorney General’s Office who has alleged he was forced to resign because he wouldn’t participate in the intelligence probe. Anzalone has filed suit against Del Papa.
After the hearing, Solicitor General Mark Ghan, who is representing the attorney general, told a Las Vegas Sun reporter that he was ”disappointed” with the judge’s decision.
Ghan had argued that the documents should remain sealed to protect the privacy rights of those named who were not charged with any crimes. Ghan acknowledged during the hearing that some ”defamatory statements” were made in the documents.
Last week five former gaming regulators signed sworn affidavits urging Mahan to unseal the documents.
Topping the list of regulators was former state Gaming Control Board Chairman Bill Bible, regarded as a political enemy of Del Papa when the probe was launched.
Bible, now president of the Nevada Resort Association, said in his affidavit that he thinks Del Papa gathered intelligence on him and his colleagues as part of the criminal investigation of Ron Harris, a former Control Board electronics expert who pleaded guilty to slot cheating in 1996.