Iowa Prosecutors Object To Subpoena of Slain Student’s Education Records

By 
The Associated Press

Prosecutors in the case of a slain University of Iowa student called defense attorneys’ subpoenaing of the victim’s bank records a “fishing expedition.”

Prosecutors with the Iowa Attorney General’s Office filed a motion last week objecting after defense attorneys for 26-year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera subpoenaed Mollie Tibbetts’ bank records, The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported.

Rivera is charged with first-degree murder in Tibbetts’ 2018 stabbing death.

Tibbetts, 20, disappeared while out for a run in Brooklyn, Iowa, on July 18, 2018. After a massive police and volunteer effort to find her, Bahena Rivera led authorities to her body. Officials say Rivera stalked Tibbetts and stabbed her to death when she rejected his advances.

In their filing, prosecutors accuse defense attorneys of trying to hide the subpoena, noting that prosecutors were not made aware of the subpoena served this month on Bankers Trust in Des Moines until after it was served. Defense didn’t give notice to the state or enter it in the court’s filing system and didn’t ask or receive approval by the court as required, prosecutors said in the motion.

“On its face, the subpoena appears to be a fishing expedition into the confidential banking records of Mollie Tibbetts, who is not a witness or party and is the person the defendant is charged with killing,” Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown wrote.

Attorneys for Rivera, Chad Frese and Jennifer Frese, did not immediately respond to an Associated Press phone message seeking comment.

A judge has set a hearing on prosecutors’ motion to quash for Thursday. Rivera’s trial is set to begin May 17.

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