Congressman Watkins asks court to disqualify district attorney

Politics

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – An attorney for U.S. Congressman Steve Watkins has filed a motion seeking to disqualify Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay from prosecuting against Watkins.

This comes after Kagay filed criminal charges against Watkins on Tuesday for voter fraud after Watkins listed a Topeka UPS store for his address when voting in the 2019 general election.

Watkins called the charges suspicious after Kagay filed them 45 minutes before his appearance on a KSNT debate as Watkins tries to keep his seat in the August primary election. Kagay told KSNT News on Wednesday that the timing of the charges was not connected to the debate. Both Kagay and LaTurner are republicans.

Watkins also questions Kagay’s ties to Jake LaTurner, Watkins’ primary republican contender in the primary election.

“All these coincidences lead to one inevitable conclusion: Jake LaTurner colluded with a corrupt prosecutor to file bogus charges to win an election he’s losing by more than 20 points,” said Watkins’ spokesman Bryan Piligra in a statement Thursday. “If it looks like a scandal, feels like a scandal, and quacks like a scandal, then it probably is a scandal. Jake LaTurner, his cronies, and the corrupt prosecutor have a lot of questions to answer.”

The three motions to disqualify include the following, per Piligra’s statement:

Motion to Disqualify, Exhibit A:  A catalog social media posts attacking Congressman Watkins made by a shared consultant of LaTurner and Kagay.

Motion to Disqualify, Exhibit B: A receipts and expenditure report of Kagay highlighting his work with an anti-Watkins consultant who was also used by LaTurner.

Motion to Disqualify, Exhibit C: An open records request for all documents and communications between LaTurner, his campaign staff and consultants, Kagay, the DA’s office, and Van Meteren.

Watkins is charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor that relate to the 2019 local election:

  • Interference with law enforcement, providing false information
  • Voting without being qualified
  • Unlawful advance voting
  • Failing to notify the DMV of change of address

His first court date is set for December.

The state will respond to the motion with a court filing, Kagay told KSNT News on Thursday.

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