Salt 88 trial begins over compliance check tweet

Posted at 5:41 PM, Feb 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-07 13:43:59-05

A tweet and a warning have unfolded into accusations of wrongdoing, and messing up a secret investigation.  The trial for John Horvatinovich, Co-Owner of Salt 88, begins Monday in Douglas County Court.  He is charged with obstructing government operations, and previously pleaded not guilty,

Multiple Nebraska State Patrol investigators testify that on August 13 they were running alcohol compliance checks on metro businesses when they stopped at Salt 88 on 129th & W. Maple Rd.  Two 17-year-olds went in and ordered two Bud Lights but were denied when their ID's were checked.  Horvatinovich tweeted out their photos and a warning to other businesses.

NSP investigators testified Monday afternoon they shut down the operation shortly after the tweet because they feared for the teen's safety, and that the KMTV story is where they found out who posted it.

One of the teens took the stand saying it was the first time he had been a confidential informant for a compliance check.

“A little nervous…because you can definitely tell it’s me so I just didn’t know how people would react to that,” the teen said of the tweet.

The defense said that Horvatinovich wasn’t aware that it was an operation put on by authorities.  They also argued it didn’t need to stop since the teens could’ve just changed their clothes or other informants could've stepped in if they were worried about safety.

The trial will continue on Tuesday when prosecutors play part of an interview with Horvatinovich that was done almost two weeks after the tweet was posted.