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October 31, 2014

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Ex-Nevada lawmaker taking plea deal in Las Vegas cases

Updated Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 | 2:28 p.m.

Steven Brooks is shown in an Aug. 5, 2014, Metro Police booking photo.

Steven Brooks is shown in an Aug. 5, 2014, Metro Police booking photo.

The only lawmaker ever expelled from the Nevada Legislature agreed Thursday to plead guilty in two Las Vegas criminal cases dating to the days before the 2013 legislative session, in a bid to get out of jail and into a mental health program.

Through his lawyer, former Democratic Assemblyman Steven Brooks told Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melanie Andress-Tobiasson that he plans to plead guilty Aug. 28 to resisting a public officer with use of a deadly weapon, a felony that could get him up to four years in prison.

Prosecutor Richard Scow agreed to drop lesser assault on an officer, battery constituting domestic violence and obstruction charges.

Brooks, 42, also plans to plead guilty Aug. 28 in a separate case handled by the Nevada state attorney general's office to possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, a felony, defense attorney Adam Gill said.

Thom Gover, the deputy attorney general prosecuting the firearm case, gave his endorsement Thursday to the agreement to settle both cases before trial. He declined further comment.

The moves could mark a step toward the twice-elected lawmaker restoring his personal life, and signal an end to a public spectacle that for weeks threatened to derail the biennial 2013 Legislature.

"We're hoping that he gets the treatment, mental health-wise, to get stable and get back to normal living in society — and not be a danger to himself or others," said Scow, a chief deputy Clark County district attorney.

Gill and Scow said outside court that if Brooks completes mental health court and an anticipated probation sentence of perhaps three years, he could end with one misdemeanor resisting arrest conviction on his Nevada record and no prison time.

Brooks has two felony convictions in California after spending 16 months in jail and pleading no contest in July to evading a peace officer and resisting arrest stemming from a March 2013 freeway chase on Interstate 15 from Barstow to Victorville.

Brooks arrested in California

Ex-Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks, holds his arms up as he is arrested, Thursday, March 28, 2013, in Victorville, Calif. Brooks led police on a chase from Barstow, Calif., until his tires were spiked in Victorville, Calif. Brooks was arrested on charges including resisting arrest and throwing objects, just hours after he became the first lawmaker ever expelled from the Nevada Legislature. Launch slideshow »

Gill and Scow said that if Brooks meets mental health and probation requirements, the firearm possession by a prohibited person case could be dismissed.

With his plea, however, Brooks will acknowledge in court that he used marijuana as an elected official.

That allegation was a fundamental part of a grand jury indictment in April 2013 that Brooks was an unlawful user of a controlled substance, and therefore prohibited from possessing a gun.

Some Brooks' family members were in court Thursday but declined comment in the hallway.

Brooks has been in custody at the Clark County jail in Las Vegas since his release last month from the San Bernardino County jail. His combined bail in the two Las Vegas cases is $150,000.

Gill said his client hopes to be freed after he enters his pleas Aug. 28.

Scow noted that both criminal cases stem from a succession of events preceding Brooks' dismissal from the Legislature as a security risk in March 2013.

Brooks was first arrested in January 2013 in North Las Vegas after police were told he threatened to harm Marilyn Kirkpatrick, the Democratic Assembly leader. He was found driving a state-issued car with a silver .357-caliber revolver and dozens of rounds of ammunition in a shoebox.

A series of bizarre events followed, including cryptic telephone calls from Brooks to reporters; Brooks' dismissal from his six-year Las Vegas parks and recreation analyst job; the refusal of his colleagues in the Legislature to allow him into the building; and a photo of Brooks posing shirtless for a Las Vegas Review-Journal interview. He denied threatening Kirkpatrick and alleged that she tried to kill him.

Brooks, a father of four, also reported his car stolen and was hospitalized for five days for a psychiatric evaluation after one domestic disturbance.

He was arrested again after he was accused of fighting with Las Vegas police called to a domestic argument involving Brooks and his estranged wife, Ada. That case led to charges and Thursday's plea deal.

About the same time, Brooks was denied permission to buy a rifle at a sporting goods store in Sparks, based on a Nevada Department of Public Safety background check.

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