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October 22, 2014

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Assembly leaders name Las Vegas litigator Mark Ferrario as special counsel in Brooks investigation

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Assemblyman Steven Brooks sits alone after a floor session Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 during the 2013 legislative session in Carson City. Brooks announced during the session that he would take a leave of absence to address health issues.

Assemblyman Steven Brooks - Feb. 7, 2013

Assemblyman Steven Brooks hugs Assemblyman Pat Hickey before a meeting Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 during the 2013 legislative session in Carson City. Launch slideshow »
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Assemblyman William Horne talks with Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick after an Assembly session during the third day of the 2013 legislative session Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 in Carson City.

Assembly leaders have named Las Vegas lawyer Mark Ferrario as special counsel to lead the investigation into whether troubled Assemblyman Steven Brooks, D-North Las Vegas, is fit to serve office, lawmakers confirmed Tuesday.

Ferrario is expected to hire a former FBI agent to investigate complaints against Brooks, who has been arrested twice since the beginning of the year and involuntarily detained for a psychiatric evaluation.

Ferrario will then present the information to a select Assembly committee, which will make a recommendation to the full Assembly on whether to expel Brooks from the Legislature. Brooks is currently on paid leave and has been banned from the Legislative Building following his arrest on allegations he threatened the life of Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, in January. Earlier this month, Brooks was arrested a second time on a domestic battery complaint.

Assembly Majority Leader William Horne, D-Las Vegas, has given Ferrario about a two-week window to complete the investigation and present the findings.

"We want to get this done," Horne said. "I don't want us to be dealing with this as we start hitting deadlines (for bill passages). It'll be a nightmare if we are dealing with another Brooks situation when we are trying to get bills passed."

Ferrario will begin his investigation by interviewing lawmakers and legislative staff about Brooks' recent conduct and behavior. "We've asked our members to be cooperative," Horne said.

Brooks will be given the opportunity to respond to the investigation findings, either in person or by writing, Horne said.

Both Horne and Kirkpatrick have temporary restraining orders in place against Brooks. But Horne said those orders wouldn't be enforced when Brooks is invited to testify in his defense.

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