Judge denies motion to hold El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in contempt for Club Q media leak

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
After a mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, a makeshift memorial grows outside the LGBTQ club on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022.. Daniel Aston, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, Derrick Rump and Raymond Green Vance were killed in the shooting.

A judge has denied a motion to punish the El Paso County Sheriff's Office for allegedly leaking information to the press about the accused Club Q shooter's criminal history. 

Attorneys for Anderson Aldrich argued an article by the Associated Press was evidence enough to prove law enforcement leaked information from sealed court documents. The AP published its article two days before records about a 2021 arrest were unsealed.

The case centers on a bomb threat that led to a lengthy standoff with law enforcement and the evacuation of 10 homes. Eight charges, including five felonies, were ultimately dismissed after Aldrich's mother and grandparents ignored subpoenas, according to 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen. In accordance with Colorado law, all related records were subsequently sealed and deemed non-existent.

Fourth Judicial District Judge Robin Chittum said most contempt cases she has seen are black and white. This one, she said, is gray, requiring "excessive speculation" and offering "very little information."

Chittum said that while it was clear a leak happened and there was evidence of contempt, there was no proof the sheriff's office was the source. She said someone from any level of multiple law enforcement agencies could've been responsible.

State public defender Joseph Archambault countered her statement, and said the only law enforcement agency in possession of the records at the time was the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

"I can't make an assumption. I can't make a presumption. This information could have been released by any law enforcement official or member of the courthouse staff," Chittum said.

Alrdrich remains in custody in connection to the Club Q shooting that killed five people and injured 22 others. Earlier this week the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office filed additional charges in the case, pushing the number to 317.

Aldrich is due back in court on Friday.

More coverage of the Club Q shooting