Investigators in the Las Vegas strip massacre are pursuing potential criminal charges against someone other than gunman Stephen Paddock, a lawyer for the city’s police department told a judge on Tuesday.
Charges could be brought within 60 days, the lawyer, Nick Crosby, said in response to a question from Clark County District Court Judge Elissa Cadish.
The exchange occurred during a hearing in which CNN and other media outlets were seeking access to sealed court records about the probe into the deadliest shooting in modern US history.
At issue was whether the probe is ongoing and therefore requires a continuing degree of secrecy.
“Without naming names, there are potential charges against others as a result of the ongoing investigation — is that fair?” Cadish asked Crosby at one point.
“Yes,” Crosby responded. “There are charges being investigated.”
Asked about a time frame for the filing of such charges, Crosby said it “could be 60 days.”
Crosby added, “But I’m not privy to all of the information with respect to what’s going on.
He did not identify who might be charged, or what charges were under consideration. But he told the judge he had no information that the charges pertained to the “actual murders.”
After hearing from Crosby and media lawyers, Cadish said she would issue a written ruling on the matter next week.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department did not immediately respond to questions from CNN about Crosby’s statements in court.
The hearing follows the unsealing last week of hundreds of pages of federal court records, including multiple search warrant affidavits, that shed light on the early stages of the investigation into how and why Paddock carried out the October 1 attack that claimed 58 lives. The records did not contain updated information about the current status of the investigation.
The documents revealed that Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, spontaneously told investigators that her fingerprints would likely be found on Paddock’s ammunition, but she adamantly denied any advance knowledge of the attack.
Danley offered the information as investigators were preparing to take a DNA swab from her, according to a federal search warrant affidavit. She told investigators her prints would likely be on the ammunition because she “occasionally participated in loading magazines.”
The FBI agent who prepared the October 7 affidavit noted that Danley was cooperating with investigators and that the investigation “to date has not produced any conclusive evidence that Danley aided Paddock, had foreknowledge of his plans, or has been deceptive with law enforcement.”
The agent also noted that “this aspect of the investigation is still the subject of intense review.”
The court records also show that investigators sought to preserve the content of social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook linked to Paddock and Danley. The affidavit notes that Danley’s Facebook account was deleted hours after the attack.
An FBI agent characterized Danley in the days after the shooting as “the most likely person who aided or abetted Stephen Paddock,” according to a search warrant affidavit filed in early October.
It is unclear what has transpired with respect to Danley in the ensuing months of the investigation.
Danley’s attorney did not respond to a phone call and text seeking comment last week, and did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment following Tuesday’s court hearing.
In a statement released by her attorney days after the massacre, Danley said she was devastated by the shooting and said Paddock never said or did anything “that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen.”