Man who sold ammo to Las Vegas shooter accepts plea deal

Business USA Vegas News

The Arizona man who sold ammunition to the Route 91 Harvest festival gunman has entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

Douglas Haig previously pleaded not guilty to one count of manufacturing ammunition without a license in connection with the sales. A change of plea hearing is slated for Tuesday.

Details of Haig’s plea agreement have not been made public. If Haig pleads guilty, he stands to avoid a Las Vegas jury trial that his legal team has been fighting from the start.

Haig’s Arizona attorney Marc Victor in June tried and failed to secure a bench trial for his client, fearing bias from jurors. A bench trial allows a judge, not a jury, to determine guilt. But Senior U.S. District Judge James Mahan denied Haig’s request.

When the bench trial request failed, Victor requested that Haig’s trial be held in Reno, to minimize potential bias from Las Vegas jurors. That also failed.

Victor previously asked that Haig be tried in Arizona — his home state and where at least one of the sales took place — for the same reason. That request was denied as well.

The attorney did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday.

Facing a Nevada jury trial, Victor in January asked that government prosecutors not be allowed to mention the Route 91 attack or gunman when presenting their case.

“The mass shooting has so permeated the District of Nevada and the nation that there is a danger that even a reference to where or when the cartridges were found will reveal to jurors this case is associated with the mass shooting,” according to the request.

Mahan refused the request in part, excluding some evidence pertaining to Route 91 but noting that procedural safeguards, including jury instructions, would help “minimize the risk of prejudice.”

Haig in February also asked that his case be dismissed, arguing that the statute he is accused of violating is “unconstitutionally vague.” Mahan denied his motion.

Haig is accused of selling illegally manufactured rounds to the Route 91 gunman ahead of the Oct. 1, 2017, attack, which left 58 concertgoers dead and hundreds more injured. The gunman, Stephen Paddock, opened fire on the crowd from a Mandalay Bay suite across the street before fatally shooting himself.

Inside the suite, investigators allegedly found ammunition with reloading tool marks packed into an Amazon shipping box that listed Haig’s address.

They also found ammunition that Haig sold to Paddock loaded into five rifles and one magazine found in the suite, according to court records. Haig’s attorneys have said that none of those rounds were fired during the attack.

Federal investigators interviewed Haig shortly after the shooting, and prosecutors in 2018 charged him in connection with the sales. A jury trial previously had been set to start in December.

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3801. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter.

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