Friday, July 18, 2008

Rapport loses extradition fight

California the next venue for former Ketchum official

Express Staff Writer

A judge ruled Thursday that the former head of the Ketchum Community Development Corporation and a man wanted in California on a felony burglary charge on one and the same.

"I think the state has presented probable cause that Gary Rapport is the man wanted on the warrant," said Judge Mark Ingram in Blaine County Magistrate Court.

Thursday's "identification hearing" was held because Rapport declined to waive extradition following his arrest by Ketchum police on July 8. He resigned his post at CDC earlier that day after allegations surfaced that he was wanted in Orange County. He is accused there of second-degree burglary for allegedly stealing several thousand dollars from Leisure World Market in Seal Beach.

Ingram said his ruling was based on date of birth, a driver's license number and photographs of Rapport, all of which matched information provided by the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Ketchum Police Detective R. Scott Manning testified that Rapport knew there was a warrant for his arrest when Ketchum police took him into custody.

"Mr. Rapport said he knew that and thought the warrant was non-extraditable," Manning said.

The warrant was changed to extraditable earlier that day after Orange County authorities learned of Rapport's presence in Ketchum.

Little was offered in the way of defense at Thursday's hearing. Public defender Kevin Cassidy successfully objected to the Seal Beach police report being entered into evidence but offered no evidence to refute that Rapport is the man wanted in Orange County.

Rapport remains incarcerated on $150,000 bond in the Blaine County Jail awaiting extradition.

He also faces a misdemeanor assault charge in Bozeman, Mont. for allegedly strangling his wife in December of 2007. Rapport is scheduled for trial on the charge on Sept. 11.

Rapport's wife and three children, ages 3, 9 and 12, attended Thursday's hearing. At the conclusion, Rapport smiled at them, mimed a kiss and shrugged his shoulders before being led away in handcuffs and chains.

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