Lawyer’s after-hours visit to judge’s chambers in KCK prompts court order

An assistant prosecutor’s unauthorized after-hours entry into a federal judge’s chambers in Kansas City, Kan., has prompted the judge to order courthouse surveillance video be preserved and turned over.

The order entered Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson directs the U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Attorneys Office to produce all video from Aug. 25 up to 9 a.m. on Aug. 26 that shows the prosecutor and a deputy U.S. marshal on the courthouse floor containing the judge’s office.

The order also covers video taken anywhere inside the courthouse between 1 and 9 p.m. on Aug. 25 that depicts Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Tomasic and Deputy U.S. Marshal Chris Johnson.

The allegation that Tomasic had entered the judge’s chambers without authority was made public by Robinson during a Sept. 7 hearing.

That hearing involved the investigation into recordings of attorney-client meetings made at a private prison facility that holds federal prisoners in Leavenworth.

Robinson had ordered all evidence in that case be turned over to her, and Tomasic delivered that information to Robinson’s office earlier in the day on Aug. 25.

But later that day after business hours, a member of the judge’s staff discovered Tomasic and Johnson in the office.

The U.S. attorney’s office said that Tomasic was delivering additional material that the judge had ordered to be turned over. She had gotten permission from her supervisors and had asked the deputy marshal to let her in, according to court documents and testimony.

On Wednesday, defense attorney Jonathan Laurans asked Robinson to order that the courthouse video be saved and turned over to “guarantee its availability if and when this incident is determined to be relevant in the broader investigation.”

“The impermissible entry into chambers after hours by AUSA Tomasic into the same secure area where she had earlier in the day delivered impounded evidence threatens the integrity of these proceedings,” Laurans wrote in his motion.

In granting his request, Robinson ordered the marshal’s office to turn over the video within one business day “only between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., with no entry into the court’s chambers permitted without permission, upon an agreed time arranged through the courtroom deputy.”

Tony Rizzo: 816-234-4435, @trizzkc