Former U.S. Attorney discusses FBI investigation in Wichita

Image License<br />Cropped Photo: Joscelyn Upendran / CC BY 2.0<br />License Link
Image License<br />Cropped Photo: Joscelyn Upendran / CC BY 2.0<br />License Link(WEAU)
Published: Mar. 22, 2017 at 6:27 PM CDT
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9:00 p.m. UPDATE:

An earlier version of this story reported that attorney Steve Joseph told us Rodney Steven’s home was also searched in January. This evening a spokesperson for the Steven family told us that was incorrect, and Rodney’s home was never searched.

Eyewitness News has not been able to independently confirm that Rodney Steven’s home was searched.


Posted at 6:30pm

It's been more than a month since Eyewitness News learned about an FBI investigation in Wichita.

Wichita attorney Steve Joseph told us the FBI raided four homes including those of Brandon Steven, Daven Flax and Danny Chapman in February. We’ve also learned the FBI wiretapped the phones of several people including Steven, Danny Chapman and County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell in 2015.

For weeks we've heard very little about the investigation, but that doesn't mean it's at a standstill. Former U.S. Attorney Randy Rathbun says some cases can take months to present to a grand jury.

Rathbun served as U.S. Attorney from 1993 to 1996. He says there's one thing in particular that makes this case stand out.

"Generally the public doesn't even know the investigation is going on," said Rathbun.

We know five men received letters from the Department of Justice, saying their phones were wiretapped. But we still don't know why they were listening in, and Rathbun says there's no way of knowing when we'll find out.

"That is a very complex case, involving multiple targets perhaps," said Rathbun.

Because grand jury proceedings are secret, Rathbun says it's impossible to know if prosecutors have presented the case to a grand jury. Rathbun says it's possible some evidence has already been presented, but it could be months before prosecutors ask for an indictment.

"I had cases that went three or four different presentations to the grand jury before we marshaled enough evidence or felt comfortable asking for an indictment," said Rathbun.

Rathbun says defense attorneys can negotiate with prosecutors before an indictment.

Nobody has been arrested and no charges have been filed in this case.