Lawyer enters plea for man who sold ammo to Las Vegas shooter

Updated September 10, 2018 - 8:15 pm

An Arizona man who sold bullets to the Oct. 1 gunman was excused from his Las Vegas arraignment Monday, and his lawyer entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen allowed Douglas Haig to skip the hearing. He faces one count of manufacturing ammunition without a license.

“He pled not guilty because he is not guilty,” Haig’s attorney, Marc Victor, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal shortly after the hearing.

Haig, 55, was indicted in the Nevada case in August. He previously was charged in Arizona federal court with conspiracy to manufacture and sell armor-piercing ammunition without a license, but that case since has been dropped.

He is the only person to be charged in connection with the Route 91 Harvest festival attack, during which Stephen Paddock fatally shot 58 concertgoers and wounded hundreds more before killing himself.

Haig has admitted to selling the gunman about 720 rounds of tracer ammunition, which his attorney said were not used in the attack.

The Arizona complaint alleged that at least two of those rounds were reloaded, armor-piercing ammunition. Investigators found the unfired rounds in the shooter’s Mandalay Bay suite. Haig’s fingerprints were on them.

When the Arizona case was dropped, the Nevada indictment accused Haig more broadly of manufacturing, selling and shipping ammunition “in interstate and foreign commerce” without a license. Haig previously ran an ammunition company called Specialized Military Ammunition, but the business has been shuttered.

As a result of the ongoing case, Haig is barred from handling weapons, firearm accessories or ammunition.

In court Monday, prosecutors asked that those restrictions go a step further. They said Haig should not have access to any ammunition-reloading presses, which can be used to reload cartridge cases.

The judge allowed the additional restriction and granted a separate request that barred Haig from attending gun shows or entering any shops that primarily sell weapons, excluding general retailers like Walmart and sporting goods stores. Haig told federal agents he first met Paddock at an August 2017 gun show in Las Vegas.

When prosecutors also asked that he be barred from visiting online weapons retailers, Leen drew the line.

“I can prohibit his conduct but not his intellectual interests,” she said.

Haig’s name surfaced in January, printed on one of about 300 pages of police search warrant records released by Clark County District Judge Elissa Cadish to the Review-Journal in connection with the shooting. The newspaper published his name, and the judge later said her staff should have redacted it.

He was charged in Arizona a few days later.

Leen set a tentative trial date for Oct. 29 in Las Vegas. But Haig’s attorney is fighting for the case to be moved back to Arizona federal court.

The attorney argues that the sale happened in Arizona; that Phoenix is more convenient for his client; and that, due to Haig’s connection to Paddock, “Mr. Haig cannot obtain a fair and impartial trial in the District of Nevada,” documents show.

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3801. Follow @rachelacrosby.

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