After days of national controversy over the raid of a small town’s newspaper office and the publisher’s home, the items seized have been returned and will be examined by a forensic analyst, the Kansas paper’s co-owner and publisher told CNN on Wednesday. An attorney for the Marion County Record, Bernie Rhodes, told CNN the local prosecutor has agreed to withdraw a search warrant executed on the newspaper Friday and will return all seized items, answering demands of press freedom advocates who sharply condemned the police action. Publisher Eric Meyer has said he believes Friday’s raid in Marion – about 60 miles north of Wichita – was prompted by a story published Wednesday about a local business owner, Kari Newell. But authorities said they were investigating what they called “identity theft” in a search warrant. Computers, cell phones and other materials were seized during the raid at the Marion County Record, Meyer confirmed to CNN. One of Meyer’s reporters relayed to him the equipment that had been seized was returned and is now on its way to Kansas City where a forensic analyst will check “that nothing was done to them,” Meyer told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead” Wednesday. Marion County prosecutor Joel Ensey released a statement explaining why he asked for the seized items to be returned. “On Monday, August 14, 2023, I reviewed in detail the warrant applications made Friday, August 11, 2023 to search various locations in Marion County including the office of the Marion County Record,” Ensey said. “The affidavits, which I am asking the court to release, established probable cause to believe that an employee of the newspaper may have committed … Unlawful Acts Concerning Computers. Upon further review however, I have come to the conclusion that insufficient evidence exists to establish a legally sufficient nexus between this alleged crime and the places searched and the items seized,” the prosecutor said. “As a result, I have submitted a proposed order asking the court to release the evidence seized. I have asked local law enforcement to return the material seized to the owners of the property.” The Kansas Bureau of Investigation plans to continue its investigation “independently” and “once our investigation concludes we will present findings to the Marion County Attorney for review,” bureau spokesperson Melissa Underwood said in a statement. Publisher says his late mother would feel good about support from media Meyer’s mother – Marion County Record co-owner Joan Meyer – died Saturday, the day after police raided the home she shared with her son. Eric Meyer said he believes stress from the raid contributed to his mother’s death. “One nice thing … is the outpouring of public support and the support from news organizations and journalistic organization afterward would almost vindicate her. I think she would feel good about that,” Eric Meyer told CNN on Wednesday. The raids of the newspaper’s office and the Meyers’ home “raise a lot of concerns and a lot of questions” for the Biden administration, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. Jean-Pierre said she had not spoken to the president about the case, but the White House was aware of reports. “More broadly speaking, it is important to me … from here and to the president to reiterate as he has done many times before the freedom of the press, that is the core value when we think about our democracy,” Jean-Pierre said. “When you think about the cornerstone of our democracy, the freedom of press is right there. That is our core value.” International press freedom group Reporters Without Borders on Wednesday said it welcomed the decision. “But we still need answers as to how this happened,” said Clayton Weimers, executive director for the group’s US bureau. “Law enforcement cannot simply raid media organizations at will.” The story behind the story Earlier this month, Meyer said he was at Kari’s Kitchen – a coffee shop operated by Newell – for a public meeting event with US Rep. Jake LaTurner, a Republican who represents the area. Even though it was a public meet-and-greet event, Meyer said he and his reporter, Phyllis Zorn, were asked to leave. “I was standing in line waiting to get a drink at the coffee shop where we were and the police chief came up to us and said you’ve been asked to leave by the coffee shop owner,” Meyer said. “She said we don’t want the media in here, so they threw us out.” CNN has reached out to LaTurner’s office about the situation. Meyer said Zorn then received a tip about Newell allegedly driving without a valid driver’s license after a traffic offense in 2008. Newell confirmed to CNN that she had asked Meyer and his reporter to leave the event because she believes the newspaper “has a long-standing reputation for twisting and contorting comments within our community.” “When they came into the establishment, I quietly and politely asked them to exit,” Newell said. “I didn’t feel that their constituents needed to be exposed to any risk of being misquoted.” Newell said the Marion County Record unlawfully used her credentials to get information that was only available to law enforcement, private investigators and insurance agencies. “Not only did they have information that was illegal for them to obtain in the manner in which they did, but they sent it out as well,” she added. The Marion County Record published the article “strictly out of malice and retribution for me asking him to exit my establishment,” she said. Newell said she was out of state when she learned of Friday’s raid and told CNN she was “flabbergasted” and “didn’t know that was coming.” ‘Not in America’ Meyer previously said he drove down to the office where law enforcement officials seized a file server, a backup drive for a file server, Meyer’s computer and the computers and phones of two other reporters. “I’ve never seen anything like this, not in America,” Meyer has said. “This was an atomic flyswatter. They wanted to swat us, and they tried to do so.” Meyer on Wednesday told CNN the raid has a “hint of intimidation and attempted bullying.” “There needs to be a clear line that this is not allowed,” he added. Meyer did relay a bit of good news to CNN: There have been 2,000 new subscriptions to the newspaper in the past five days.