Steven Brooks vows to attend Nevada Legislature
LAS VEGAS — A Nevada lawmaker, released following a five-day mental evaluation and allegations that he threatened a state Democratic Assembly leader, vowed Friday to serve his elected office when the state Legislature convenes on Monday.Legislative leaders, meanwhile, took the unprecedented step of forming an investigative panel to consider whether Assemblyman Steven Brooks is fit to take his seat. The select committee will recommend to the Assembly whether any action should be taken.Brooks spoke nearly non-stop for about three minutes then hung up the telephone when reached at home by The Associated Press.The Democratic assemblyman from North Las Vegas identified himself by his full name and title, declared himself “lucid” and said he was no longer on medication.“I’m finally well enough to get up and get out of bed and take my rightful seat representing the 17th District,” he said. “You let everyone else know Steven Brooks has a reputation as a good man. I promise you we will explain everything with my lawyer.”Mitchell Posin, the lawyer representing Brooks during a series of sometimes bizarre developments since Brooks’ Jan. 19 arrest on a felony threat charge, said Friday he hadn’t spoken with Brooks.An associate who has provided only his first name, Darren, answered a follow-up phone call to Brooks’ home. He said Brooks would make no additional immediate statements.Brooks, 40, who was re-elected to the Legislature in November, declined to say when or how he planned to travel to Carson City for the start of his second term.“You’ll find out,” he said. “You guys have made this a media circus and I’m not going to be the butt of jokes anymore.”In Carson City, Legislative Counsel Bureau chief Rick Combs said lawmakers have never before formed a select committee to probe a fellow legislator’s fitness to serve.“Obviously everything would be easier if this didn’t happen,” Combs said Friday. “I do feel confident we have the people and ability to do what needs to be done.”Combs said legislative staff want to “keep things as normal as possible, when things aren’t normal” on opening day of the session.The Brooks saga has dominated political conversation in Nevada since the assemblyman’s arrest in a car with a gun and ammunition in a shoebox nearly two weeks ago.In his brief conversation with the AP, Brooks made a cryptic reference to allegations that he threatened incoming Assembly Democratic Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, who also lives in North Las Vegas. He appeared to deny wrongdoing and claim he was a victim.“It was a metaphor,” he said of the words he used. He didn’t say what he said, but said reports about them were “being used to assassinate the character of a rising star.”North Las Vegas police reported that officers began looking for Brooks after being told he was angry with Kirkpatrick and was driving around with a loaded gun. Police said they were told Brooks had been released the night before from a private psychiatric center in Henderson.North Las Vegas police on Thursday turned the results of their investigation over to the Nevada state attorney general’s office.Prosecutor Thom Gover said Friday he was reviewing the police report. He wouldn’t say what charges police were recommending, but said the initial felony charge of intimidating a public officer by threat of physical violence was among them.Brooks’ hospitalization Jan. 25 for a psychiatric evaluation was his second trip to a hospital in a week. Posin said Brooks was hospitalized Jan. 22 for treatment of what the lawyer characterized as internal bleeding from a pre-existing condition.Two days later, Brooks posed shirtless for a Las Vegas Review-Journal photo and interview in which he denied threatening Kirkpatrick and alleged that Kirkpatrick tried to kill him. Kirkpatrick has declined comment about Brooks’ claim.Last Friday, Las Vegas police summoned medical personnel to take custody of Brooks following a report of a domestic disturbance at his grandmother’s house.Police said the intent was to prevent Brooks from endangering himself or others.