Judge to rule on passcode stalemate in LSU hazing death next month
BATON ROUGE - A judge will decide next month whether a former fraternity member must turn over his phone's passcode to prosecutors in a high-profile hazing death that happened at LSU last year.
The news came during a motion hearing for Matthew Naquin, a former Phi Delta Theta member who was allegedly instrumental in the hazing that led to freshman Max Gruver's death. State prosecutors have been working to access Naquin's phone in order to search for any information pertaining to Gruver's death. The state filed a motion to compel Naquin to grant access to the device after he refused to do so earlier this year.
While a judge has already signed a warrant for the phone itself, investigators have been unable to access its contents due to it having a passcode. Prosecutors said they were primarily looking for information relevant to Gruver's death between the months of August and September 2017.
State stresses there is already a valid search warrant for phone due to probable cause.— Johnston vonSpringer (@johnstonvon) December 4, 2018
Says it does not want to invade his privacy, but get to the truth
Says Naquin has no 5th amendment right — he’s just refusing to give passcode
Affidavits filed after Gruver's death say Naquin was "the most aggressive by far" at a chapter hazing event dubbed "Bible Study," where pledges had to answer questions about the fraternity's history. If they answered a question wrong, the pledges were forced to drink hard liquor.
On Tuesday, a judge also admitted portions of a testimony from another fraternity member, Ryan Isto, as evidence against Naquin. The portions of Isto's testimony played in court alleged that Naquin tore up Gruver's bid card and had a known disdain for the pledge.
A judge is slated to make a decision on whether or not the state can demand Naquin's passcode by late January.
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