It’s been a bad month for Steven Brooks.
The Democratic Assemblyman from Las Vegas is in pain from medical problems and, he says, a physical beating he took before he was arrested and accused of threatening to harm Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick.
“I’ve had a month of hell,” Brooks said in his first interview since his arrest Saturday. “I had the worst month I had in all my life and the new year just started.”
The disjointed, 35-minute interview took place in a sparsely furnished North Las Vegas apartment. Present were Brooks, his attorney, Mitchell Posin, and a man who only identified himself as Darren and said he is Brooks’ driver.
Brooks was shirtless much of the time, walking with a heavy limp and showing a reporter myriad swollen spots on his face, neck and torso that he and Posin attributed to mistreatment before and after his arrest.
Brooks, who frequently veered off topic and consulted Posin privately at times, vowed he would be exonerated in court and said he intends to serve in the legislative session, which starts Feb. 4.
“I want fairness and justice,” Brooks said. “We have a lot of work to do this session, and get ready because I’m coming on Feb. 4 after my court date.”
In addition to discussing his physical pain, Brooks admitted to possessing a gun at the time of his arrest over allegations of threatening a public official; alluded to a confrontation with Las Vegas Councilman Ricki Barlow that led to a broken television and what Posin described as “bad blood” between Brooks and his political patron; and maintained that he - not Kirkpatrick - is in danger.
“If (Kirkpatrick) comes to kill me again, I have an armed guard,” Brooks said at one point. “No one is going to touch me again, I’m safe.”
Brooks didn’t identify his armed guard, but Darren said he has been regularly relocating the lawmaker for his protection.
Despite the strange circumstances surrounding Brooks’ arrest, a brief appearance Wednesday at the Legislative Building in Carson City where Brooks shielded himself from view with a hooded sweatshirt and the cloak-and-dagger nature of the interview arrangements, Brooks and Posin downplayed questions about the assemblyman’s mental state.
Posin questioned the intentions of friends and colleagues who have said they hoped Brooks would get help.
“It depends what they mean by ‘help,’ ” he said. “When you hear somebody say ‘I hope he is getting some help,’ it is suggestive that he is in the wrong, that he is acting crazy, that he needs psychiatric help.”
Brooks also accused Kirkpatrick of drug abuse and asked for help in obtaining hair and blood samples from her. Posin didn’t dissuade him from the topic.
“We believe that she has got some emotional problems, as well,” Posin said.
Kirkpatrick did not return a call for comment Thursday evening.
While Brooks made accusations against Kirkpatrick, he said any statements leading to his arrest were “a mistake,” nothing more than an attempt to rally support for another lawmaker as speaker during pre-session caucus meetings.
“If this is a threat, then take me to jail,” he said. “I said, ‘I challenge you to a debate, and I am counting votes … Because that will be your first and last day as speaker-elect. I made a mistake. So I said ‘peace,’ and I tried to apologize.”
Brooks and Posin also spoke of a dispute with Barlow about the time the councilman, Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, and Brooks’ wife discussed threatening statements they attributed to Brooks. According to North Las Vegas police reports, Atkinson relayed that information to Kirkpatrick and to authorities.
During the conversation, Brooks abruptly left the room, returning with a broken flat-screen television. The men blamed Barlow for the damage, then went into another room to speak quietly together. On returning, Posin said the television was broken “on accident” while Barlow was helping Brooks move.
Pressed on an earlier statement about “bad blood,” Posin said, “There was no bad blood on Steve’s side. It sounds like Mr. Barlow might have been a little bit agitated.”
Asked why Barlow was agitated, Brooks jumped in and said, “Good question. My wife is on her way.”
Pressed further, Posin said it had to do with the role played by Barlow and Ada Brooks in events leading up to the arrest.
In an arrest report, Ada Brooks is said to have told police that “her husband’s mental health had been getting worse, and she was worried about him.”
“There have been some statements made by his wife, and apparently there is some connection there,” Posin said in reference to statements to police by Barlow and Ada Brooks.
“This is getting ugly real fast,” Brooks said.
Posin then said there “are things that Steve doesn’t know, all he does know is that when Mr. Barlow was here, he was agitated … Steve is having some marital problems. There was obviously communications reported in the news between his wife and Mr. Barlow.”
Ada Brooks could not be located for comment Thursday night.
After more questions Posin asked to change the subject.
“I think that is enough about this topic, let’s get back to Marilyn Kirkpatrick,” Posin said.
Barlow did not return a call for comment late Thursday. He has previously denied involvement in events leading up to Brooks’ arrest, although the North Las Vegas police report contradicts the denial and says Barlow believed Brooks had “another gun in the car and possibly drugs.”
Brooks and Posin then discussed an earlier incident in which Brooks said, “Gangsters jumped me,” in North Las Vegas. Brooks said he reported it, but police were not helpful. Posin said there is a police report but that it was not immediately available.
The interview concluded with Brooks proclaiming his innocence and asking a reporter to take photos to document his bruises.
“I’ll be tried in a court of law, and I’m innocent until proven guilty,” Brooks said. “And I have Second Amendment rights, and all my civil rights have been violated.”
Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0285 .