Search warrant for Kansas newspaper withdrawn after backlash
A prosecutor in Marion County, Kansas, withdrew a search warrant after the raid of a local newspaper office and the home of its owners, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation said.
Why it matters: The police raid of the Marion County Record office last Friday prompted First Amendment concerns and was condemned by major news organizations and journalism advocacy groups.
- The Bureau will work with the newspaper to return all seized items, per a news release.
Catch up fast: Police seized computers, file servers and phones in the raid, after a warrant was issued and signed by a local judge, the newspaper said. Eric Meyer, the newspaper's co-owner and editor, had his phone, computers and internet router confiscated.
- The newspaper said the raid contributed to the death of its 98-year-old co-owner Joan Meyer, who died on Saturday after becoming "stressed beyond her limits," but was in otherwise in good health for her age.
State of play: The investigation into the Marion County Record remains open, the Bureau said, but it will proceed without review or examination of the evidence seized on Friday.
- The investigation follows a complaint from restaurant owner Kari Newell, who said the newspaper illegally obtained and disseminated information about her drunken driving conviction.
- The newspaper has said it had obtained the information legally from a tip and used public online records to verify details.
- "I have come to the conclusion that insufficient evidence exists to establish a legally sufficient nexus between this alleged crime and the places searched and the items seized," Marion County Attorney Joel Ensey said in a statement.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with additional details.