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Anonymous email group shakes up Cass County sheriff race for 2nd day in a row

Sheriff Jesse Jahner's opponent, Deputy Mat King, denies involvement. The group, which claims to include current deputies, says they don't support either candidate.

Two photos side by side, the first of a uniformed sheriff and the other of a white man in a black T-shirt.
Sheriff Jesse Jahner, right, and Deputy Mathew King, both candidates for Cass County Sheriff on the November ballot.
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FARGO — The people behind an anonymous email group that is stirring up controversy in the Cass County Sheriff's race have been partially uncovered.

On Monday, Oct. 3, a group calling themselves Code-4-Media sent a statewide media blast alerting the public to an incident at the sheriff's office last year.

A lieutenant sent a nude photo of himself to a co-worker, but he said he intended to send it to his wife.

The group claimed some were unhappy about Sheriff Jesse Jahner only writing up the lieutenant for a policy violation and not a harsher penalty.

The only person to ever request to see that file is Jahner's opponent in the November election: Deputy Mathew King.

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"I am not Code-4. I am not associated with Code-4. I don't know Code-4," King said.

The Cass County Sheriff's deputy is coming to his own defense a day after it appeared he may have been behind the leak of the year-old investigation.

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While denying involvement with Code-4, he does not deny he shared the files with other deputies and does not know what they did with them. He also wondered if higher-ups accessed the files improperly and may request an internal investigation.

"I'm being called a scumbag. I'm getting called a narc. ... I did not leak this information, first and foremost," King said.

While not revealing much about the group, Code-4-Media told WDAY News the group consists of current members of the sheriff's department, along with former members and concerned citizens.

On Tuesday, the sheriff's office responded to another Code-4-Media request for every exit interview during the Jahner era. While several reported problems at the jail which the sheriff oversees, none were directly critical of the sheriff himself.

The sheriff sent the exit interviews to Code-4-Media along with media outlets.

"It's hard not to think it isn't politically motivated because of the timing of it," King said.

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Code-4-Media has refused to identify individual members, saying, "our team's identity is very important."

However, they went on to write, "We know the sheriff's office inside and out. This is not a political ploy. We do not support either candidate for the sheriff's office. Our purpose is to protect and preserve public safety in Cass County."

The group hopes someone launches a write-in campaign for sheriff.

"My biggest thing is, what's the intent behind it? What are they shooting for? What's their goal?" King said.

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at mhenson@wday.com and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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