Mayor & Chief To Meet Before Releasing Smart Leaks Report

Mayor & Chief To Meet Before Releasing Smart Leaks Report

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- No evidence exists to support claims that Salt Lake City police leaked information about the Elizabeth Smart investigation to reporters, according to a report by the police chief.

Chief Rick Dinse and Mayor Rocky Anderson met for about an hour Wednesday to discuss the report, sent by Dinse to Anderson last week and released by the city Wednesday. Anderson had not finished reviewing the report and had no comment, his spokesman Josh Ewing said.

"The mayor asked the chief for more clarification," Ewing said. "The discussion is still ongoing. The mayor hopes to finish that discussion in the next couple of days."

The report, based on an internal review, underscored earlier declarations by police that the department had no role in leaking information about the case to reporters.

An attorney for the Smart family said police and officials from the FBI, Utah Department of Public Safety and U.S. Secret Service leaked information about the case to former Salt Lake Tribune reporters Michael Vigh and Kevin Cantera. The reporters, who sold information about the case to the National Enquirer for a story that was later retracted by the tabloid, were fired by the newspaper.

Dinse's report quoted Salt Lake County District Attorney David Yocom's own investigation that said tapes of the Smart family attorney's interview with the two reporters indicated their sources had been employees of two federal agencies and one state agency.

Yocom said the reporters had specifically said they were unable to get Salt Lake police to talk with them off the record about the investigation.

Dinse's report also found that the department had sufficient procedures regarding leaks, securing crime scenes and investigative procedures.

Anderson also had asked Dinse to investigate efforts by police to locate the man who was found with Elizabeth on March 12 and charged in her abduction.

For months, police focused on the late Richard Ricci, a career criminal who also worked as a handyman for the Smarts in 2001. Ricci was arrested for parole violations and was in prison when he suffered a fatal brain hemorrhage last August.

Investigators drew criticism for concentrating on Ricci even after Elizabeth's younger sister told authorities in October that kidnapping suspect Brian Mitchell could have been the man that took her sister.

In the report, Dinse said specifics about the abduction investigation have been sealed by the court.

Mitchell, 49, and his wife, Wanda Barzee, 57, were charged with burglary, kidnapping and sexual assault. They are being held on $10 million bond and have been ordered to undergo mental health evaluations. Their trials are expected in the fall.

Anderson, an attorney, had clashed years ago with at least one of the detectives in the Smart investigation and some police have suggested that the mayor's probes of the police department stem from old animosity, which the mayor denies.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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