Report: Rhode Island Nightclub Fire Kin Asks For Federal Investigation

Scott MacKay of the Providence Journal is reporting that a radio talk-show host whose son died in The Station nightclub fire is campaigning for a federal investigation of the way Rhode Island authorities and Attorney General Patrick Lynch handled the state's probe of the fire.

David Kane, the father of Nicholas O'Neill, an 18-year-old musician who died in the Feb. 20 fire at the West Warwick club, said yesterday he has contacted the United States Attorney, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy's office in hopes of initiating a federal fire probe.

But Acting U.S. Attorney Craig N. Moore, in a statement issued Tuesday (Dec. 23), said he does not believe there is any reason to involve federal agents in such an investigation.

"Based on the available information given to them, the FBI has determined that there is no factual basis for a federal inquiry," said Moore. "I've discussed the matter with the FBI and do not believe there is any factual basis for such an investigation."

Kane criticized Lynch for allowing GREAT WHITE singer Jack Russell to make statements to state prosecutors that could not be used against him in court.

Assistant Attorney General William J. Ferland said four so-called "free-talk" letters were issued in The Station investigation, which allowed witnesses to speak freely without fear their statements could be used against them.

No one was granted statutory immunity in The Station investigation, said Ferland. A free-talk letter is a prosecutor's tool, Ferland said, to obtain frank, candid accounts from witnesses.

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