Assemblyman Steven Brooks, D-North Las Vegas, who was arrested over the weekend and charged with making threats of physical violence against fellow Democrat, Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, declared in a brief telephone interview today that “I’m innocent.”
Brooks spoke to me for just a couple of minutes before hanging up his phone. Attempts to reach him again were unsuccessful.
“I’m innocent,” Brooks declared, adding. “Marilyn wants to kill me.” When asked if he was speaking literally or metaphorically, he continued: “Any person who abuses their power and throws somebody in jail wants to kill me.”
Brooks mused aloud about changing political parties and said he was surrounded by family and friends. He then said he he would travel to Carson City tomorrow, apparently to take part in a budget meeting pursuant to his membership on the Assembly Ways & Means Committee. Brooks, who was first elected in 2010, wanted to become chairman of that powerful panel and supported Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, for speaker. But Kirkpatrick got the votes and the top job, and instead appointed former state senator-turned-Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton to the job.
Brooks also declared he would hold a news conference, but provided no details. Then he repeated, “This is Steven Brooks. I am innocent,” before disconnecting the call.
Brooks’s behavior has raised concerns among his legislative colleagues before he allegedly threatened Kirkpatrick with violence over the weekend. He was arrested by North Las Vegas police on a felony charge of threatening a public officer.
What will happen to Brooks is an open question, but legislative lawyers are looking into whether the Assembly could simply refuse to allow him to be seated in Carson City with the rest of his colleagues when the Legislature convenes Feb. 4. Another option would be for the Assembly to hold a vote — which requires two-thirds or 28 members — to expel Brooks from the body. Based on his brief comments during the interview, however, it doesn’t appear that he intends to resign from his seat.
In the meantime, Kirkpatrick remains under the protection of Capitol Police.