Twenty pages of reports obtained Monday reveal an exhaustive list of charges that Gideon Cody supposedly was seeking in connection with his raid Aug. 11 on the Marion County Record and the homes of its owners and Marion’s vice mayor.
Most of the charges were not mentioned in search warrants he obtained before conducting his coordinated raids, which among other things sent seven officers into the home of Record co-owner Joan Meyer, who died of stress the next day.
His warrants, signed by Magistrate Judge Laura Viar, later were withdrawn by County Attorney Joel Ensey as being unjustified and insufficient even though Cody contends Ensey had been consulted throughout the process.
The additional charges he was seeking were:
- Use of a communications facility to commit a felony, though statute numbers he cited dealt not with elements of the case but with human trafficking, promoting sale of sexual relations, and commercial sexual exploitation of a child.
- Interference with a law enforcement officer by falsely reporting a crime, falsely accusing a law enforcement officer of committing a crime, falsely impeding a criminal investigation, or concealing evidence.
- Performing an unauthorized official act by “certifying execution of a legal document.”
- Identity theft by obtaining, possessing, or using personal identifying information with intent to defraud by receiving a benefit or to misrepresent or subject someone to harm.
- Identity fraud by using or supplying information known to be false to obtain a document containing personal information.
- Intimidation of a witness by attempting to prevent or dissuade administration of justice by vexing, annoying, harming, injuring, or interfering.
- Official misconduct by using confidential information acquired in the course of official duties to intentionally harm another.
- Breach of privacy by intercepting a private communication.
Named as suspects were Vice Mayor Ruth Herbel, Record publisher Eric Meyer, Record reporter Phyllis Zorn, and Pam Maag.
Maag, a former friend of restaurant owner Kari Newell, gave Zorn and Herbel a picture of a document indicating Newell had not had a valid driver’s license for more than a decade because she failed to deal with a drunken driving conviction.
Cody’s narrative was written without his ever questioning Herbel, Meyer, or Zorn. It also containing no indication that it was forwarded, as such reports usually are, to the county attorney.
What it does include are numerous misrepresentations.
In it, Cody claims that City Administrator Brogan Jones told him Herbel was attempting to block Newell’s bid for a license allowing her to sell liquor at multiple locations.
In truth, Herbel wrote to Jones only that she thought Newell’s driving record should be investigated as part of the licensing process.
Cody also claims, apparently on the basis of a later disavowed statement from Newell, that Meyer threatened to expose her drunken driving if she pursued identity theft charges.
In fact, Meyer told her he had decided not to publish anything about her driving because it seemed to be squabbling in a divorce case.
Meyer noted that her making public statements about her record were what had exposed the issue to the public.
Cody also claims that Newell told him Meyer admitted that one of his employees had downloaded her record and that he knew this act was illegal.
In fact, Meyer told Newell that the Record merely verified how the document had been legally obtained. It even consulted state officials about how to do so legally and checked with an attorney to ensure that no laws had been broken.
Both Maag and the Record promptly reported to authorities that they had received the document. Authorities did not follow up before raiding the newspaper and the homes of Herbel and the newspaper’s owners.
Cody’s documents start off recounting how Newell had had him eject Meyer and Zorn from a public meeting Aug. 1 to which they had been invited by Rep. Jake LaTurner’s staff.
He apparently believed that this somehow amounted to motive.