Councilwoman Victoria Seaman filed a police report alleging an assault by colleague Michele Fiore six months after city investigators say the statute of limitations expired, but there is conflicting information about whether the city’s criminal investigation was ever sent to prosecutors, new records show.
Seaman claims Fiore attacked her on Jan. 11, 2021, after an audit committee meeting, breaking her finger and slamming her to the ground by her hair, Seaman’s lawsuit and interviews show.
The city destroyed a video of the incident despite the Las Vegas Review-Journal requesting it, records show. The city released a report last week that claimed Seaman and Fiore fought each other, but the report conceded the city did not provide the video despite the newspaper’s repeated requests.
On Sept. 13, the Las Vegas marshal’s office promised to send a criminal investigation report to the Clark County district attorney, but that apparently did not happen, new records obtained under the state open records law show.
Deputy Chief Kyle Ward “spoke with Assistant DA Robert Daskas,” Lt. Mark McCoy wrote to Detective Brian Goldyn. “He will have one of his Chief Screeners review your report. Please email the complete report over to DC Ward and I. The DC will send it … over so that it can be reviewed.”
Text messages also say the report was headed to the district attorney’s office, but Assistant District Attorney Christopher Lalli told the Review-Journal that the report never arrived.
“No case has been submitted,” Lalli wrote in an email Monday after the Review-Journal showed him a copy of the messages. “No case has been submitted to our Office.”
Lack of transparency
Ward, reached on his phone, declined to comment, and city spokesman Jace Radke also would not explain. A secretary in the city’s Department of Public Safety would not connect the Review-Journal with Chief Jason Potts, and he did not respond to an email request for comment. McCoy and Goldyn did not respond to calls or emails.
Seaman said the city’s investigation is part of the continuing cover-up of the incident.
“There is a lack of transparency, and the whole thing is a cover-up to protect (Las Vegas City Attorney) Bryan Scott,” she said Tuesday. “It’s been very tough, but I’m not going to stop and will continue with the lawsuit so that people in the future will never have to deal with this.”
According to the city’s report, Scott did not provide the video to the Review-Journal and allowed it be written over when Fiore and Seaman said they didn’t want a copy. A copy on a thumb drive was also deleted.
Fiore did not respond to a request for comment. Scott declined to comment through a spokesman.
Closing out the case
The documents appear to show that city investigators were intent on closing out the matter instead of doing a thorough investigation.
Our “report which is already outside of the 1 year prosecution time, and there is no evidence or witnesses to substantiate anything except closing out the case,” someone named “Tim” texted the chief, according to records the city provided.
Seaman said she, her staff and other witnesses were never interviewed in the case. She said she submitted a statement in July that appears to be the basis of Goldyn’s investigative report.
Simple battery has a one-year statute of limitations so the report, finished in July, would have been outside that window. But Seaman said the fact that she had to have surgery to repair her broken finger makes the case a felony that has a two-year statute of limitations.
She said she cannot find any agency to properly investigate and prosecute the case.
Las Vegas police told her the marshal’s office must investigate the case because it happened on city property. She said the FBI told her the agency would get back with her but never did. And attempts to have Attorney General Aaron Ford investigate went nowhere because Seaman said Ford and Scott are friends.
“There’s a lot of politics in play here,” she said.
John Sadler, spokesman for the attorney general, said the office has received no referrals or complaints related to the matter.
FBI spokeswoman Sandy Breault released the following statement on Wednesday:
“FBI Las Vegas is aware of the circumstances regarding this matter. While the FBI investigates many different types of violations, some crimes can fall under different jurisdictional authorities. The FBI conducts investigations when it has been determined by both the FBI and United States Attorney’s Office that a federal violation has been committed. We regularly review criminal activity that might have a federal nexus, however we are unable to comment on specific investigative activity.”
Contact Arthur Kane at email@example.com and follow @ArthurMKane on Twitter. Kane is a member of the Review-Journal’s investigative team, focusing on reporting that holds leaders and agencies accountable and exposes wrongdoing.
Article written by Arthur Kane #ReviewJournal