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State files obstruction charges against LSU fraternity member over deleted texts, photos

4 years 7 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, July 02 2019 Jul 2, 2019 July 02, 2019 11:00 PM July 02, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Prosecutors have filed new charges against the LSU fraternity member charged in a hazing death that made national headlines in 2017.

Matthew Naquin is scheduled to go on trial Monday for a negligent homicide charge tied to the death of Max Gruver.  However, state prosecutors and defense attorneys met in court Wednesday where it was determined evidence that Naquin deleted hundreds of files from his phone during the investigation was admissible in court.

It was also during that hearing that state prosecutors announced obstruction of justice charges were filed against Naquin.

The former college student is accused of deleting roughly 700 texts, photographs and other files from his phone the same day a search warrant was signed for the device. In court filings, lawyers for the state argue Naquin obstructed justice by getting rid of information that could further connect him to Gruver's death. 

Investigators first used metadata to determine that more than a thousand files were missing from Naquin's phone after the FBI was able to gain access in March 2019. Federal authorities had to step in after he refused to give up the device's passcode.

During last week's hearing, the state turned over the entirety of Max Gruver's phone to the defense. Previously, portions of that phone had been made available to Naquin's attorney.

The first circuit court of appeals ruling that a jury will be able to hear allegations that Max Gruver drank alcohol and smoked marijuana voluntarily on the day of that now infamous bible study hazing ritual in September 2017. Months ago, Judge Beau Higginbotham had ruled those allegations wouldn't be admissible. The first circuit also ruled that any evidence related to Gruver's alcohol and drug use during his time at LSU prior to bible study will not be allowed during the trial.

Naquin will be arraigned Monday when he appears in court for that trial. 

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