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Judge to limit release of Henry Ruggs’ medical records in DUI case

Updated December 9, 2021 - 5:21 pm

A Las Vegas judge on Thursday said he will only allow prosecutors to access the results of Henry Ruggs’ blood tests and testimony from medical professional about the tests in the fatal DUI case involving the former Raiders’ player.

The announcement came during a hearing about the release of medical records in the case. The order from Justice of the Peace Robert Walsh was filed Thursday afternoon, but the documents weren’t immediately available.

David Chesnoff, one of Ruggs’ defense attorneys, said the judge indicated he will not allow medical professionals to testify about their observations or conversations regarding Ruggs’ care.

Chesnoff and his co-counsel, Richard Schonfeld, have claimed that allowing testimony from medical professionals about anything other than the blood test would violate doctor-patient privilege.

Schonfeld presented the defense argument during a Wednesday hearing. Walsh was also critical of the move to broadly release Ruggs’ medical records.

“I agree that the order is broad, over-broad, and I believe it needs to be limited,” he said at Wednesday’s hearing.

Ruggs, 22, has been charged with felony counts of DUI resulting in death, DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm and two counts of reckless driving resulting in death or substantial bodily harm in connection with the Nov. 2 crash that killed 23-year-old Tina Tintor and injured his girlfriend.

He also was charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of a firearm while under the influence, court records show. Authorities have said a loaded weapon was found in his Chevrolet Corvette Stingray after the crash.

Peter Christiansen, a lawyer for Ruggs’ girlfriend, Rudy Washington, appeared in court on Thursday to argue that his client’s records also should not be released. Christiansen was not present at Wednesday’s hearing.

To show that investigators could access Washington’s records and testimony from health professionals about her care, prosecutors were using a case that waived doctor-patient privilege for someone accused of wrongdoing, Christian said during Thursday’s hearing.

“My client is not a litigant,” Christiansen said. “She’s not a part of this case. She’s a victim.”

Christiansen declined to comment following the hearing.

Prosecutor Eric Bauman said Thursday that investigators are trying to access medical records to show how Washington was injured.

“We have to establish substantial bodily harm, it’s an element of the crime,” Bauman told the judge.

After Ruggs’ first court appearance on Nov. 3, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said he was told that Ruggs had suffered leg injuries and that Washington had suffered a “significant” wrist injury. Ruggs first appeared in court in a wheelchair and wearing a neck brace.

Ruggs was reportedly driving 156 mph just seconds before the fiery pre-dawn crash. Prosecutors have said his blood alcohol level was 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit for drivers in Nevada, after the crash.

He could face up to 40 years behind bars if convicted of the DUI counts.

A status check in the case is set for Jan. 6. A preliminary hearing was rescheduled for March 10.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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