Attorney asks judge to force city to turn over LMPD Explorer report
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An attorney for a Louisville Metro Police officer charged with sexually assaulting teens in the department’s youth Explorer program asked a judge last week to order Mayor Greg Fischer's office to release a report on an independent investigation into how police and the city handled the scandal.
Attorney Brian Butler, who represents former Officer Kenneth Betts, filed a motion Thursday arguing the mayor announced the investigation and appointment of former U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey in March 2017 but, although it was completed in March of this year, no documents have been turned over to the defense or prosecutors.
Betts and former Officer Brandon Wood have been indicted for sexually abusing several teens.
In his motion, Butler asked Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Darryl Lavery to order Mayor Fischer’s office to release Harvey’s report and all documents, recorded interviews and other materials created during the investigation.
Butler argued Harvey is acting as an agent of the commonwealth and any documents in the city’s possession must be turned over to the defense under the “Brady law,” a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says defendants must be told about potentially exculpatory evidence in criminal cases.
A hearing for the motion has been scheduled for Thursday.
However, on Friday and Saturday of last week, local media reported Fischer’s office and Metro Council had agreed to release a redacted version of the report as early as Wednesday.
Metro Council President David James said on Monday the report is 90 pages but he has not yet seen its contents.
Jean Porter, a spokeswoman for Mayor Fischer, denied any knowledge of the motion, adding that "the timing of the report release is based solely on the timing of bringing attorneys together to review the report with Mr. Harvey to see what, if any, redactions should be made to ensure it does not jeopardize the criminal and civil cases or violate any court orders in those cases."
The release of the probe has been delayed several times at the behest of Fischer’s administration because of worries about harming the civil and criminal cases.
In order to call a special meeting of the council, James said he needed to collect 18 signatures of council members, but he had not done that as of Monday. James believes he will have the required number by Tuesday.
Porter also said she expects the report to be released Wednesday.
Last week, WDRB reported that several council members had concerns about how the Mayor’s office released invoices of the Harvey probe saying they were overly redacted.
The Mayor’s office blacked out a number of tasks that Harvey completed, including presumably an interview with police Chief Steve Conrad.
Butler said in his motion that an investigator working with Harvey contacted him earlier this year asking if Betts would be willing to provide a statement for the investigation.
In an interview Monday, Butler said Betts did not provide a statement because of the pending criminal charges.
Butler also said he is requesting an unredacted copy of the investigation.
Harvey’s investigation is supposed to shed light on, among other questions, how police handled a 2013 investigation of former LMPD Officer Kenneth Betts sending inappropriate texts and talking lewdly to a 16-year-old female Explorer.
Betts was accused of sending the girl shirtless pictures of himself and asking her to "make out."
During the course of that investigation, a male teenager told police investigators that Betts offered him money for sex. The teen also said Betts offered to take care of a speeding ticket in exchange for sexual favors. And the male told police he often spent the night with Betts and another LMPD officer, Brandon Wood.
In addition, another LMPD officer, Brad Schuhmann, is under investigation and on administrative leave. And the former commander of the program, Curtis Flaherty, is accused in several lawsuits of covering up the crimes.
It’s possible the council could view the report and not make a decision on whether to release the report on Wednesday. The meeting is expected to start at 3 p.m.
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