RENO — A federal magistrate has ordered a California Justice Department official to disclose the author of a confidential report that suggested that profits were "skimmed" from a Nevada hotel owned by Sen. Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.).
The ruling by Federal Magistrate Phyllis Halsey Atkins is viewed as a pretrial victory for Laxalt who filed a $250-million libel suit against McClatchy Newspapers of California.
The suit was filed after the newspapers published a story that stated that the Internal Revenue Service had evidence of skimming at the Ormsby House Casino in Carson City while it was under Laxalt family control.
The confidential report was addressed to John Smoot of the Bureau of Organized Crime and Criminal Intelligence in the California Justice Department. The name of the person who wrote the report was blanked out.
Newsman Denny Walsh had gained a copy of the report and used it to check with other sources before writing his story about Laxalt.
Atkins said Laxalt is a possible candidate for President in 1988 and the public should know whether the report is accurate.
Smoot has refused to identify who wrote the report or the sources that were relied upon. The magistrate has ordered him to disclose both.