A woman testified that federal and Las Vegas police and investigators threatened to take away her 3-year-old daughter if she didn't cooperate in an investigation of her mother-in-law, a former Clark County commissioner.
Kathryn O'Gara said she refused to help authorities who she said
appeared once at her job and twice at her house seeking information
in a probe of Yvonne Atkinson Gates' campaign finances.
"They told me if I didn't decide to cooperate with them, that my child was going to be taken away from me," O'Gara said during an evidentiary hearing before Clark County District Court Judge
O'Gara, 25, and her husband, Brian Patrick Atkinson Turner, are due for trial Jan. 22 on felony charges including drug possession, drug trafficking, conspiracy and child abuse or neglect.
Mosley made no ruling Friday on evidence questions. He scheduled
the hearing to continue in February.
O'Gara and Atkinson Turner were arrested in August at their home
in a gated community south of Las Vegas after police said a motorist reported seeing O'Gara driving recklessly with a small child unrestrained in her car.
Police entered the house after finding the couple's Mercedes parked, and reported finding the child, a .40-caliber handgun in the master bedroom, marijuana and equipment that appeared to be for growing marijuana. They also reported finding a loaded handgun in the car.
Police said the charges against O'Gara and Atkinson Turner were
unrelated to the police investigation of whether Atkinson Gates
improperly paid them and their advertising company thousands of
dollars during her 2004 campaign, authorities said.
Atkinson Gates has not been charged with a crime. She resigned
from the commission a year ago after 14 years on the board.
O'Gara told the judge that police pounded on her door for more
than 45 minutes but she refused to acknowledge them.
"I was sick of being harassed," O'Gara said. "My lawyer told me that I didn't have to open the door. I didn't have to talk to them anymore. And I did not want to be told once again that I was going to have my child taken away if I didn't cooperate."
Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)