FBI agents removed from bomb suspect case

Patrick Stein (Courtesy Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office)
Patrick Stein (Courtesy Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Patrick Stein is one of three men accused in the recent Garden City bomb plot. This week, two FBI agents have been removed from the investigation in the case against Stein.

KSN got a statement from the Robinson Law/LLC group in Wichita, that is helping with the Patrick Stein defense case. That statement says two FBI agents were removed from the Stein investigation.

KSN asked the U.S. Attorney’s office about the statement from the law group.

“I can confirm that the published statements below about what the judge said in court yesterday (Tuesday) are correct to the best of my knowledge,” said Jim Cross, Public Information Officer for U.S. Attorney Tom Beall in the District of Kansas. “I was not at the hearing yesterday ,and I don’t have a transcript. Because this case is still pending before the court, I am not able to make any further comment.”

The statement from the Robinson law office is as follows:

“A United States District Court judge ordered two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents removed from the investigation into Patrick Stein at a hearing requested by Mr. Stein’s defense attorneys Tuesday. Mr. Stein’s attorneys requested the hearing to determine if documents taken from his cell, and reviewed by the two FBI agents, contained privileged information meant for Mr. Stein’s attorneys… Judge Eric Melgren ordered the agents not to communicate with anyone regarding the case and to have “complete dissociation” from the case moving forward.”

Cross did not comment further. Stein is due in court again next month.

KSN asked an attorney familiar with the case, who is not working on the Stein defense or prosecution, if the agents being removed could have broader ramifications in the Stein case.

“No, FBI agents being removed from a case does not happen often,” says Charley O’Hara, a civil rights attorney from Wichita. “Not very often. It’s quite unusual. It’s kind of an unusual set of facts.”

O’Hara says the judge in the case would not have removed the FBI agents from the case without a great deal of thought.

“I’m sure, being in front of (district) judge (Eric) Melgren, he looked at the law very closely and looked at the facts very closely and did what he thought was appropriate under the circumstances,” says O’Hara.

KSN also asked defense attorneys what may have been removed from Stein’s jail cell. A spokeswoman said she could not comment specifically on the case, but indicates the law firm is pleased the judge held a hearing and took action in the case.

Stein is due in court again next month.