Island House speaker's home, office searched in federal probe
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[March 22, 2014]
By Fausto Giovanny Pinto
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (Reuters) — U.S.
federal law-enforcement officials searched the office and home of the
speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, Gordon Fox, on
Friday, according to his spokesman.
But there was no immediate word on the subject and nature of the
investigation, including whether the Democratic speaker was a
The Rhode Island U.S. attorney's office confirmed only that two
search warrants were executed as part of a joint investigation with
the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and state police, but declined
to state the location and target of the warrants.
Larry Berman, Fox's spokesman, told reporters at the State House
that investigators asked staff to leave the office while a warrant
was executed, according to video of the remarks posted on the
website of local news channel WPRI.
Berman said he did not know what was being investigated.
"All I saw was boxes," Berman said, responding to questions about
what investigators had taken. "At least a half a dozen."
Fox was elected speaker of the House in 2010. As speaker, he is one
of the most powerful figures in Rhode Island politics, overseeing
the passage of legislation in the lower house.
Video footage of law-enforcement agents removing boxes from Fox's
home and office were shown on NBC 10, a local news channel. The FBI,
the IRS and the state police referred queries to the U.S. attorney's
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Jim Martin, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Rhode Island, Peter
Neronha, declined to say whether Fox's home and office were the
target, saying a court sealed the search warrants from public view.
"We are not confirming the nature of the investigation," he said.
There was no answer on Friday evening at Fox's home, where several
journalists had gathered outside hoping for comment. Dogs could be
heard barking indoors, a light was on in a back room, and a car with
special House plates was parked outside.
(Writing and additional reporting by Jonathan Allen;
Cynthia Johnston and Mohammad Zargham)
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