Judge Laura Viar, who authorized raid on Kansas newspaper over probe of local restaurateur’s drunken-driving record, has her own DUI history
By Oliver Young // Aug 21, 2023

Magistrate Judge Laura Viar, who authorized the police raid on the Marion County Record newsroom over its probe into a local restaurateur's drunken-driving record, has her own history of driving under the influence (DUI).

According to reports, Viar had been arrested twice for DUI in two different Kansas counties in 2012 -- once on Jan. 25 in Coffey County and again on Aug. 6 in Morris County. Viar's last name was Allen at the time, and she was working as the top prosecutor in Morris County.

Despite those issues, Viar was reelected as county prosecutor several times. In late 2022, she was chosen to fill a slot as a magistrate judge in the 8th Judicial District after the sitting judge retired.

Birds of the same feather flock together

These DUI arrests were significant because the warrant she approved for the controversial raid came in response to the Record digging into the DUI history of restaurant owner Kari Newell.

The raid authorized by Viar came after Newell complained about the newspaper's investigation into her criminal background. Newell, a local restaurant and catering company owner, was upset that Record reporters used a public state database to confirm she lost her driver’s license over a DUI.

Meanwhile, authorities have returned cellphones, computers and other equipment to the Record less than a week after a the raid was widely criticized as a likely violation of federal law.

The Aug. 11 raid drew national and international headlines because it seemed to run counter to long-established press freedoms and guarantees.

"It's very rare because it's illegal," said First Amendment attorney Lynn Oberlander. "It doesn't happen very often because most organizations understand that it's illegal."

It all started from a confidential tip to the Record about the DUI history of Newell. (Related: CITY IN COLLAPSE: Understaffed Austin police took so long to respond to DUI accident that the driver sobered up and avoided charges.)

Instead of publishing the information, the Record chose to inform Marion County Sheriff Jeff Soyez and Marion County Police Chief Gideon Cody about the source's allegation that officers were aware a local resident couldn't legally drive but were ignoring the fact that she had lost her license supposedly due to her history of driving under the influence. The paper didn't use Newell's name.

Days later, Newell publicly accused the Record of feeding the information to a councilwoman, Ruth Herbel. The paper argued that the same source who made the initial allegation also sent the information to Herbel.

Police chief has grudge against the Record

Police then raided the Kansas newspaper after obtaining a search warrant from Viar, citing a criminal investigation into "identity theft" regarding Newell's records found online. Officers also seized devices at Herbel's home.

Cody, who was sworn in on June 1 after retiring from the Kansas City Police Department, didn't like the Record either. The paper has been looking into allegations of misconduct against Cody based on anonymous tips from several of his former colleagues.

Record reporter reportedly approached Cody seeking comment about the allegations, and in response the police chief threatened to sue the paper.

Cody declined to confirm whether he threatened to sue the paper or whether the raid was linked to the paper looking into his background.

Watch this video about the a federal judge criticizing Kansas police for unconstitutional traffic stops.

This video is from the America at War channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

FAKE NEWS: ESPN photoshopped Tiger Woods DUI arrest photo to make him look less ragged and deranged.

Yes, a California man was charged with a DUI for consuming caffeine… here’s how the insanity happened.

Left-wing Rutgers profs outraged that police actually arrested an illegal alien for DUI.

Sources include:

NPR.org

Kansas.com

Brighteon.com



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