The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department wants search warrants from the 1 October shooting to stay sealed from the public.
Nine media organizations are asking a judge to unseal 14 warrants connected to the deadly shooting at Mandalay Bay, killing 58 people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Journalists believe the documents should be public, as there is no ongoing criminal investigation into any living defendants.
Judge Elissa Cadish on Tuesday said she will allow Metro to be a part of hearings moving forward, based on the department's "interest in the outcome" and the lack of objections from attorneys representing news entities involved in the case.
Initially, Judge Cadish said she was "torn" as to whether Metro should be allowed to have a say in the case, given that the department is not named as a respondent.
"I can't just allow somebody who's not named in a case to say, 'Oh! I'm interested in what happens here. I'm going to preempt the judge it's assigned to!'" she said.
Jackie Nichols, the attorney representing Metro, argued that this case concerns sealed court documents which also happen to be police records.
"On one hand, as a practical matter, do I understand why Metro is interested in this case," Judge Cadish said. "Yes. Of course, I understand why Metro is interested in this case. But from a legal perspective, I guess Metro isn't -- is not named as a party in any pleading."
"I suppose it makes sense for Metro to be available to appear and participate in the case," she finally decided.
Joel Tasca, representing the media entities, said the reason he did not object to Metro's involvement is that he wants the case to be handled quickly.
"Of paramount importance to petitioners is that this not be delayed any further," Tasca said. "We want to proceed, and we do not want to see this get bounced back and forth."
Nichols refused to say on what grounds Metro believes this information should remain sealed. She said she is not allowed to speak to the media.
A decision could be made at the next court date, set for January 16, 2018. FOX5 has requested copies of the search warrants and will report on the contents if released.
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