Defense attorney in Lamphier case alleges political motivation
The defense attorney representing former Nevada County Supervisor Terry Lamphier in a child porn case has released documents that he alleges point to political motivations and a lack of credibility by the tipster who sparked the criminal investigation.
On Monday, Stephen Munkelt released several documents pertaining to Steve Enos, the man who dropped off a letter at the Rood Center on Oct. 22, 2014 that led to the Nevada County District Attorney’s office charging Lamphier with three counts of having or possessing digital obscene images of a person younger than 18.
Munkelt released portions of a supplemental report from the Sheriff’s Office detailing an interview with Enos, as well as a copy of an article that Enos dropped off in the anonymous envelope, and a copy of a letter from the Fair Political Practices Commission rejecting a complaint filed by Enos against Lamphier.
In a column being published on the editorial page today, Munkelt draws a link between the rejection of Enos’ FPPC complaint with his decision to drop off the anonymous tip, writing, “Clearly he was conducting a secret politically motivated campaign against Terry.”
Enos, however, said that the complaint he filed — regarding a potential conflict of interest when Lamphier, as Supervisor, voted on the Rincon Del Rio project — has nothing to do with the child porn charges.
“Terry Lamphier and his defense attorney are working to make Lamphier out as a victim of some plot,” he said. “This is understandable; it’s a basic defense strategy to attempt to divert from the facts and the evidence and try to make your client out to be a victim.”
According to the interview conducted by a detective from the Major Crimes Unit, Enos said he had a long history with Lamphier, whom he described as a psychopath even though he also said he recruited him to run for supervisor.
Enos reportedly told the Sheriff’s detective that in April or May 2014, he overheard a conversation between two other people that Lamphier had “inappropriate content” or pornography on an iPad that he had turned back in to the county, and was worried about being caught.
The report stated that Enos sought out “someone he knew” in Nevada County government and relayed the information to them. But in a recent interview in which Enos came forward as the tipster, he specifically denied any involvement in the May investigation.
When asked about the discrepancy, Enos denied making any such statement to the investigator, adding that he had simply repeated what he heard to some people in the community.
“It’s real simple,” he said. “That’s not what I said. I did not contact law enforcement. I did not contact the county. I did not contact Terry.”
The Sheriff’s Office investigated in a limited scope, but reportedly found nothing to suggest anything inappropriate at that time.
The timing of the criminal investigation, just a week before the Nov. 4 election, was controversial. The news in late October that a search warrant had been served on then-county supervisor Lamphier’s Grass Valley home leaked after a public works employee at the scene contacted city staff. Sheriff Keith Royal said the detectives tried to execute the search warrant in a low-key manner, and needed to act promptly due to concerns about the destruction of evidence.
The investigation reportedly was sparked by Enos’ letter, and investigators found images of “very young girls” on Lamphier’s workplace computer; the files subsequently were sent to the Sacramento Valley High Tech Crimes Task Force to review and analyze and quantify the extent of the photo collection.
Lamphier has maintained he “has not proactively and knowingly ‘clicked on, visited or downloaded’ any inappropriate material from sites.” He won a seat on the Grass Valley City Council in November and was sworn in Jan. 5 amidst protests. He resigned two days later.
Lamphier faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail on each count, and potentially could be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years. A conference is scheduled for April 20, but he is not expected to be present in court.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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