The buzz this morning is FBI presence at the Rogers Photo Archive in North Little Rock, and at the home of John Rogers near the Old Mill.
FBI media spokeswoman Kimberly Brunell said: “The only thing I am able to do is confirm that agents are present at two addresses in North Little Rock on official business.”
The Rogers Archive is a cluster of buildings near 2501 North Poplar. An FBI agent in a blue and yellow jacket was standing post there this morning, telling anyone who approached the building that they would have to move across the street.
Rogers and his wife were sitting in front of the Archive in a black Mercedes SUV when we drove up. Rogers stopped to chat briefly with us, but issued an on-the-record no comment before driving away. Ditto for Little Rock attorney Blake Hendrix, who entered the Archive after Rogers drove off, with Hendrix refusing to comment when he left around 10 minutes later (UPDATE: Read Hendrix’s comments on the FBI actions below). Meanwhile, at Rogers’ mansion overlooking a lake on Avondale in North Little Rock, the driveway was crowded with vehicles, and people could be seen coming and going from a large white cargo van. They carted out boxes at both sites. Fox 16 said one was marked and sounded as if it contained baseball bats. Rogers is a collector of memorabilia, too.
We’ve written extensively about the photo archive, owned by John Rogers and said to be the largest in the world. He’s bought up archives of news media around the world to digitize, catalogue and resell copies. In many cases, the copyright remains with the newspaper, but Rogers and the organization share the ability to sell copies.
UPDATE: Just heard back from Rogers’ attorney Blake Hendrix. He said that because affidavits filed with the courts to obtain federal search warrants are generally filed under seal, neither he nor his client knows the reason for the visit from the FBI at this point.
“Literally all I can tell you,” Hendrix said, “is that the FBI is executing search warrants on Rogers’ home and his business. We don’t know what the nature of the investigation is. The warrant doesn’t tell us that, and of course we don’t have access to the affidavit.” Hendrix said that the plan for now is to let the FBI do their job, and then to see what develops over the next few days.