LAS VEGAS – A partial review Thursday of surveillance video from a parking garage where a woman said the Republican candidate for governor assaulted her did not reveal the presence of either person, nor of an attack.
A judge had ordered police to release 16 hours of surveillance video to lawyers for Rep. Jim Gibbons and Chrissy Mazzeo, who accused the candidate of pushing her against a wall inside the garage Oct. 13 and propositioning her after the two had drinks together at a nearby restaurant.
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Gibbons, 61, a married, five-term congressman from Reno, has denied any impropriety and says he helped Mazzeo when she tripped while walking toward the garage. Mazzeo's accusation, now under investigation by police, has launched a media frenzy and consumed Gibbons' gubernatorial bid in the final stretch of the tight race against state Sen. Dina Titus.
The Associated Press reviewed sequences of tapes provided by Gibbons' lawyer during the time frame when Mazzeo, a 32-year-old Las Vegas Strip casino waitress, said she was assaulted. But the AP was not able to view the tapes in their entirety and was unable to review every camera running during the hour before Mazzeo's 911 calls to police.
Campbell released two eight-hour tapes to the AP. The news organization viewed tape from nine of the 15 cameras recording the period from 9:15 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Mazzeo first called police at 10:23 p.m. and has said the assault occurred near elevators in front of surveillance cameras.
The cameras filming an area in front of the first floor elevators showed neither Mazzeo nor Gibbons, only black-and-white images of elevator doors and the occasional appearance of a security guard and a white cat.
Gibbons' lawyer, Don Campbell, said he had been told by a security company that viewed the tapes that his client was not recorded in the garage. Campbell said he had not viewed the tapes in their entirety because the video could be properly watched only on an out-of-date device called a multiplexer.
According to notes from police investigators relayed by Campbell, one of the two videos showed footage from 15 cameras in the parking garage across the street from the restaurant where Gibbons and Mazzeo had drinks with a group of people.
At his request, the AP returned the tapes to Campbell. The Gibbons campaign said the tapes have been distributed to other media outlets.
Mazzeo's lawyer, Richard Wright, who also received a copy of the tapes, declined to comment.
A security guard had initially told police that surveillance cameras were not working Oct. 13. Police said they did not pursue the matter after Mazzeo withdrew her complaint the next day. She told police she didn't want "go up against" a congressman.
The surveillance video surfaced 11 days later, after police returned to the garage and were told the video had recorded properly.
Mazzeo asked for the investigation to be reopened Monday.
Gibbons' campaign has moved quickly to capitalize on a series of media reports citing anonymous sources who claim neither the congressman nor Mazzeo appear on the tapes. The campaign aired a commercial statewide Thursday that states "Video tapes prove Gibbons is innocent," even though the campaign admits no one who works for it has seen the footage.
"We don't need to see the tapes; we know what's on there, and more importantly, what's not on there," campaign spokesman Robert Uithoven said.
Last week, Mazzeo called a news conference and said she was threatened, pressured and offered money through an intermediary to change her story. Mazzeo said the intermediary was a friend who told her that her life was in danger.
Gibbons called the remarks defamatory and outrageous.