FBI email asks for evidence against Utah trooper Lisa Steed
An email from an FBI agent details what evidence the bureau is seeking in its investigation of former Utah Highway Patrol Cpl. Lisa Steed.
The email, sent in mid-January to a potential witness in the civil rights investigation, asks for specifics about any encounter with Steed, including what she said and whether the witness had consumed drugs or alcohol.
Special Agent Cameron Saxey also wants to know whether the witness has any dashboard camera video of the encounter and if any other troopers were present.
In all, Saxey poses 18 questions in his email. The witness forwarded the email to a Tribune reporter.
Steed has not been charged with any crimes.
Attorney Bob Sykes, whose clients have filed a federal lawsuit against Steed and UHP, says the email indicates the FBI is serious about prosecuting Steed. The questions appear to be designed to "weed out" people who truly broke the law or whose testimony could be impeached at trial, Sykes said.
"What they're looking for here is a pattern," Sykes said. "One bad arrest doesn't really do it."
Sykes' co-counsel, Michael Studebaker, has already said at least 10 of his clients have spoken to FBI agents about Steed.
UHP fired Steed in November, following rulings by two judges that she lied on the witness stand. Steed is contesting the termination through the administrative process available to state employees. For now, she cannot wear her uniform and is not being paid by UHP.
Steed and UHP are being sued in federal court by a group of plaintiffs who hope to make the case a class-action lawsuit. The plaintiffs allege Steed arrested them, and in some cases they were convicted, despite not being impaired. Some plaintiffs also have filed motions in state court seeking to have their convictions vacated.
Saxey has been an FBI agent for more than 20 years and works in the agency's Salt Lake City field office, where he is currently assigned to investigate allegations of civil rights abuses. He recently investigated former Box Elder County Sheriff's Deputy Scott Womack, who is charged in state and federal court with crimes related to conducting traffic stops of young women and forcing them to remove their clothes.
Representatives of the FBI and UHP declined to comment on the email.
Questions posed by FBI Special Agent Cameron Saxey in an email
1 • When did the incident happen (time of day?, where you were? etc.?)
2 • Were you alone in your car? If not alone, please provide the name and contact information of any witnesses.
3 • Was Steed alone?
4 • At any point, did another UHP trooper show up? If so, please provide the name of trooper, if you recall.
5 • Were you told why you were pulled over?
6 • To the best of your knowledge, were you breaking any traffic rules?
7 • Did you take a Field Sobriety Test ("FST")? If so, were you told why you were being given the FST?
8 • What were the results of the FST? If Steed claimed you failed, did you feel you passed the FST?
9 • Where was the FST performed? Was it in front of Steed's UHP vehicle? If so, have you obtained a copy of the video?
10 • Were you arrested?
11 • Did you refuse to take any tests? If so, which tests?
12 • If you took tests, what were the results?
13 • Did Steed take blood from you? If so, where was the sample taken? (i.e. the police station, side of the road)
14 • Prior to the stop, had you taken any drugs or alcohol? If so, how much? When? Did you feel that you were impaired?
15 • Do you recall what Steed told you throughout the stop and arrest? If so, please describe in detail what she said, including at what point during the stop and arrest her statements were made and where the statements were made.
16 • Was this your only contact with Steed? If not, please explain other dealing with Steed.
17 • Do you believe that Steed or any other UHP trooper violated your rights? If so, how?
18 • Please provide any other information that you feel would assist the FBI in its investigation.