A Salt Lake police officer, a Salt Lake County attorney or one of his investigators probably gave author Robert Lindsay the excerpts from Kathleen Sheets' diary used in Lindsay's book, "A Gathering of Saints." The book is an account of the murder-bombings by Mark Hofmann and the subsequent investigation.
Records in U.S. District Court reveal that Lindsay told Gary Sheets' attorney, Kent Linebaugh, that he probably got the diary excerpts from former Salt Lake County Attorney Ted Cannon, Salt Lake Police Officer Ken Farnsworth or Salt Lake County attorney's office investigator Michael George.Lindsay revealed the information in a second deposition ordered by U.S. District Chief Judge Bruce Jenkins. In an earlier deposition, Lindsay had told Linebaugh he didn't remember where he got the diary excerpts. Linebaugh represents Gary Sheets in a $1 million invasion of privacy suit against Lindsay and the book's publisher, Simon and Schuster.
However, after that first deposition, Linebaugh presented Jenkins with a letter in mid-July written by Lindsay to Simon and Schuster's assistant general counsel. In the letter, Lindsay said he got the diary excerpt from "detectives."
Jenkins ordered Lindsay to read the letter to "refresh his memory," and then give Linebaugh a second deposition.
Gary Sheets argued in his suit that only he and those investigating Kathleen's murder had access to the diary and no one authorized its release to Lindsay. Linebaugh later entered the second deposition into the court records.
In the deposition, Lindsay said he interviewed seven detectives working on the murder cases of Kathleen Sheets and Steven Christensen, a business associate of Gary Sheets. But he believes he got the diary excerpts from Cannon, Farnsworth or George.
"I went to Ted Cannon's house when I was working on the book and he showed me a lot of material. That's one possibility," Lindsay said. Lindsay isn't sure if Cannon gave him excerpts from Kathleen Sheet's diary, but Cannon did give Lindsay his own diary.
"He had a journal which he kept which he gave me for use in the book," Lindsay said.
Linebaugh asked Lindsay if in his "heart of hearts" he believed he got Kathleen's diary excerpts from Ted Cannon.
"In my heart of hearts, no," Lindsay replied.
The discussion then moved to Farnsworth. "(Farnsworth) let me have access to the city's reports on the case," Lindsay said. "And some of them I read at the police station. Some of them I took back to my motel and read so I could have made the notes during that period."
Lindsay said in the deposition that he has no memory of actually seeing the diary. He believed he copied excerpts from some of the various records he reviewed.
"Everybody involved in the case was giving me various information," he said. Investigators were troubled by another book being written on the murders by a pair of New York authors, Lindsay said. They feared that book would inaccurately portray the murders and "they wanted to get an accurate, complete account of the case."
So they cooperated with Lindsay.
At one time, George planned to write a book on the case, and so he kept a lot of notes and records, Lindsay said. Lindsay went to George's home on two Saturdays to go through the records and notes George had. The diary excerpts may have been in those, he said.
Lindsay said he didn't write the source of the diary excerpts in his notes "because it all - virtually all - came from policemen and I trusted them."
Lindsay vehemently denied any wrongdoing at the end of the deposition. "I didn't steal the diary. I didn't forge it. I didn't pay anybody for it. And I continue to resent your public statements that I'm a thief and a liar," Lindsay told Linebaugh in the deposition.
"I spent 30 years developing a reputation for integrity to the point that President Regan asked me to collaborate with him on his memoirs," the former New York Times reporter told Linebaugh. "And I dislike very much your allegations that I am a thief and a liar. And if you continue to do it, I'm going to sue you personally for slander."
Sheets has filed a notice of claim against the Salt Lake City Police Department and the Salt Lake County Attorney's Office, Linebaugh said. Filing a notice of claim is a prerequisite to suing a government agency.