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Troubled Nev. lawmaker’s actions to be scrutinized

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – The Nevada Assembly could decide next week whether to expel a colleague whose erratic behavior has included two recent arrests, a hospitalization for a mental evaluation, the denial of a gun sale and the purchase of a bulletproof vest.

Assemblyman Steven Brooks’ behavior was being investigated by a Las Vegas lawyer hired as an independent counsel. Mark Ferrario’s findings will likely be presented next week to a seven-member bipartisan committee that will recommend what action, if any, should be taken against the North Las Vegas Democrat, said Assembly Majority Leader William Horne.

The actions could include expulsion, though that has never been done in Nevada.

Horne, the Las Vegas Democrat who is chairman of the committee, said Thursday that he wants members to meet at the Carson City Courthouse because it has better security measures, such as metal detectors, than the Legislature Building.

“We thought it would be a good venue for security and safety concerns,” he said, though those arrangements have not been finalized. The panel would convene after regular legislative business hours.

The latest developments follow claims by a veteran’s affairs advocate that Brooks recently asked him for a ballistic vest and infrared night vision goggles.

Steve Sanson, head of an organization he calls Veterans in Politics and host of an Internet talk show, said he provided the vest but declined the goggles request. He said Brooks didn’t tell him what he planned to do with the vest, and had yet to pay the $500 he promised for it.

Brooks’ lawyer, Mitchell Posin, said Thursday that he didn’t know Brooks had a ballistic vest.

Sanson, a Marine veteran, said he has known Brooks for about six years and that he contacted Brooks after the legislator was arrested on Jan. 19.

Police said Brooks was found in a car with a handgun and a box of ammunition after being accused of threatening harm to Democratic Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick. No criminal charges have been filed in that case.

Brooks was hospitalized Jan. 25 for a mental evaluation after a disturbance involving a sword at his grandmother’s house. He was arrested again Feb. 10 after he was accused of grabbing for the gun of a police officer who responded to a domestic argument involving Brooks and his estranged wife. He faces a felony and three lesser charges in that case.

Brooks was denied permission Feb. 21 to buy a rifle at a Scheels store in northern Nevada. Sanson said Brooks told him he had many weapons _ even before his purchase attempt.

Brooks was banned from the Legislature Building but is asking the state Supreme Court to void a Feb. 11 order by Horne that placed Brooks on leave from his elected position. He was fired last week from his day job at the city of Las Vegas, where he worked as a management analyst for the Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services department.

As part of the independent investigation on Brooks’ behavior, Horne said subpoenas were issued for Brooks’ employment, medical and police records. A subpoena was also issued for records dealing with Brooks’ failed gun purchase in Sparks.

Horne said he was hopeful that “Friday next week, we’ll be presenting to the full Assembly.”


Associated Press writer Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this report.

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