After lawyers learned that MGM Resorts is picking up the tab for the Mandalay Bay security guard shot by Stephen Paddock during his mass shooting, they question how much influence the resort has over him.
Jesus Campos has been staying at the Mandalay Bay resort at the company's expense since the domestic terror attack on Oct. 1, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.
As a result, some veteran lawyers are questioning the significance of the gesture and the company's potential influence over Campos.
Campos accepted the paid stay Oct. 4 after he was identified as the security guard shot by the gunman who opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival, Campos’ lawyer, Frank Flansburg III, told the newspaper Thursday.
Campos' account of the shooting has grown important after police have changed their timeline of the massacre three separate times and the resort claims their timeline, which differs from the police's version, is accurate.
"There’s a suspicion that they are trying to shape his testimony and don’t want him to provide information to the public about the incident," said Las Vegas attorney Will Kemp, who sued the MGM Grand after its deadly fire in 1980. "Obviously, they want him to come out with a version of the timeline that’s favorable to them."
The questioning of the hotel's motives comes shortly after the hotel reportedly pressured Campos to appear only on The Ellen DeGeneres Show after canceling five interviews with hard-hitting news agencies. The company reportedly didn't want Campos to reveal certain information about the timeline of the shooting and felt safe allowing him on DeGeneres' daytime talk show.
Another veteran trial lawyer, Robert Eglet, said the company’s decision to shelter Campos from the public could backfire.
"Potentially, if they are influencing him in any way on his testimony, it’s reasonable for people to suspect that they could be engaging and trying to control what his testimony or what his statement would be," Eglet said.
Flansburg said Campos has been spending most of his time at the resort ever since his name became public — except for his pre-planned and approved trip to Mexico in the days following the shooting.
"Following the tragedy, Mr. Campos’ name was publicly released, resulting in extensive and intrusive media attention," Flansburg said. "Because of the unwanted attention days after the event, MGM Resorts offered Mr. Campos lodging for his privacy and protection, which Mr. Campos accepted and appreciated."
The hotel insists Campos was offered the room for security purposes.
"When his name became public, Jesus was inundated with media coming to his home,” MGM Resorts Senior Vice President Alan Feldman said. “Out of concern for our employee’s safety, we provided a room for him. This was a very unusual circumstance, and our first and only concern was his safety.”
Other lawyers say that the resort is simply trying to do the "right thing" for its employee. Longtime Las Vegas defense attorney Thomas Pitaro said he sees nothing wrong with the way MGM has handled Campos.
“As long as police are satisfied with the access they’re getting to him, I don’t see it as a problem,” Pitaro said. “They’re doing what they should be doing, taking care of their employee.”