(MARION, Kan.) — Marion County, Kansas, has said it will return evidence seized in a controversial police raid of a local newspaper after an attorney review.
A search warrant for the newspaper’s offices had been acquired based on a probable cause affidavit alleging that computer crimes had been committed at the location. However, Marion County Attorney Joel Ensey wrote in a statement Wednesday that he had come to the conclusion that “insufficient evidence exists to establish a legally sufficient nexus between this alleged crime and the places searched and items seized.”
Ensey said that the city will “work with the Marion County Record, or their representative, to coordinate the prompt return of all seized items.”
The controversy began when police executed a search warrant Friday on the newspaper and on the home of its co-owner, Joan Meyer, the Marion Police Department confirmed in a statement to ABC News. The raid was prompted by a complaint from a prominent local business owner and critic of the newspaper, who accused two city council members at a public meeting of illegally disseminating confidential criminal information about her, took place on Aug. 11.
The raid triggered immediate criticism toward police over First Amendment concerns.
“It’s everything you’ve ever heard of in the third world,” Eric Meyer, the editor and publisher of the Marion County Record, said of the police raid. “It really is like we’re living in Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany or Vladimir Putin’s Russia.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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