Probable cause affidavits not filed until 3 days after Marion County newspaper raid, newly released documents show

MARION COUNTY, Kan. (KAKE) — Three affidavits used in the August 11 police raid on a Marion County newspaper have been released Saturday evening, detailing that the probable cause affidavits were not filed with the 8th Judicial District Court until three days after the searches were executed. 

In an email by the Marion County Record’s attorney Bernie Rhodes Saturday evening entitled “Reporting is not a crime,” Rhodes provides the three probable cause affidavits to search the homes of editor and publisher Eric Meyer and co-owner Joan Meyer, city council member Ruth Herbel and one for the newspaper office itself. 

Rhodes also stated he received a document from the court signed by Judge Laura Viar dated August 11 at 3:12 p.m. said the court could not provide the probable cause affidavit because it had not been filed. 

The affidavit for Meyer’s home highlights the accusation by Marion Chief of Police Gideon Cody of the newspaper illegally obtaining local business owner Kari Newell’s driving information. Cody claimed the crimes involved were identity theft and unlawful use of a computer. 

Rhodes states that the driving records obtained by Record reporter Phyllis Zorn, however, were verified through the Kansas Department of Revenue’s public website and was “perfectly legal.” 

Marion County Attorney Joel Ensey and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation ruled on August 16 there was insufficient evidence for police to raid the newspaper and all equipment would be returned. Meyer stated Wednesday that his legal team has asked for the equipment be looked at by forensic experts after being handled by the Marion Police Department. 

The funeral for the former editor of the Record, Joan Meyer, who died a day after the police raided her home, was held Saturday at a church in Marion. 

“As I have said numerous times in the last week, it is not a crime in America to be a reporter,” Rhodes concluded in his email. “These affidavits prove that the only so-called ‘crime’ Chief Cody was investigating was being a reporter.”

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