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Rocky told police of worries about Smart case early on

Less than a month after Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her bedroom, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson told Police Chief Rick Dinse he had "significant concerns" about apparent leaks to the media, according to a memo sent to Dinse by Anderson July 4.

In addition, Anderson asked Dinse about the possibility of using investigators from outside Utah to take a "fresh look" at the Smart case if "major progress is not made soon," the memo states.

The Deseret News obtained a number of memos sent by the mayor to Dinse through the Government Records and Access Management Act (GRAMA).

According to a July 4 memo, Anderson asked Dinse to find out where leaks to the media were coming from and said, "Appropriate disciplinary action, including possible criminal prosecution and employment termination, should be taken against anyone who has improperly disclosed information."

In the memo, Anderson also talked about several "botched" homicide investigations that his research showed were partially due to "astoundingly sloppy investigation" and "misleading information provided by certain members of the SLCPD to their superiors and the media."

Earlier this week, Anderson put together a five-member commission to look into the handling of the Smart investigation, the leaks to the media and the possibility of similar mistakes in the murder investigations of four women in 1985 and 1986.

In a memo dated Feb. 28, 2003, Anderson expressed to Dinse his concern that too much effort was being put into the theory Richard Ricci may be responsible for the kidnapping and not enough into a handyman known as "Emmanuel," who turned out to be Brian David Mitchell, who has been charged in the case along with his wife, Wanda Barzee.

"I am at a loss as to why the police department did not aggressively pursue the Emmanuel angle and why it (and you) discouraged Ed Smart from disclosing the possibility of Emmanuel being involved," the memo states.

In other developments in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case, the defense attorney for Mitchell is pleading with the public not to convict his client before he gets his day in court.

"It's going to be very difficult, to be honest, for my client to receive a fair trial," said David Biggs, assistant director of the Salt Lake Legal Defenders Office.

Mitchell and Barzee made their initial court appearances Wednesday, where they were given court-appointed attorneys because they can't afford attorneys on their own.

Biggs was assigned to represent Mitchell. He said Wednesday he understood the level of public interest surrounding the case, which is why he asked that his client be judged in a court of law and not the court of public opinion.

"It's what's presented in court that counts," he said.

Two private attorneys, Scott Williams and David Finlayson, were assigned to represent Barzee. Williams and Finlayson are "conflict attorneys," lawyers who are appointed to a case when two co-defendants seek separate representation.

There is a pool of five, two-member conflict attorney teams in Salt Lake City who rotate cases. Williams and Finlayson were next in the rotation when Barzee's case came up.

Biggs said he will put together a team to represent Mitchell "in the most zealous manner I can." He also said he would not seek a change of venue, noting it probably wouldn't change anything in such a high-profile case.

Both Mitchell and Barzee face multiple counts including aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated burglary. They are being held in the Salt Lake County Jail on $10 million each.


E-mail: preavy@desnews.com