Archive for Saturday, October 7, 2000

Lottery suspect wants to pare bail limits

Knowlton asks for more freedom

October 7, 2000

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— A former employee accused of stealing $63,000 from the Kansas Lottery wants to have some of the restrictions on his activities dropped.

The former employee, Richard Lee Knowlton of Topeka has been out of jail on $70,000 bond, but he can't leave his home without notifying a court services officer and must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

Knowlton also can have only minimal contact with his adult son and daughter because they are listed by the attorney general's office among 81 potential prosecution witnesses in the case.

Knowlton's attorney, William Rork, also of Topeka, filed a request Friday in Shawnee County District Court to have those restrictions lifted. If those restrictions were lifted, Knowlton still would face others, such as a prohibition on using computer equipment.

In the request, Rork noted that Knowlton has lived all but two of his 55 years in Topeka, has strong family ties to the city, hasn't been charged with a crime before and hasn't failed to appear in court. Therefore, Rork said, he is not likely to flee and the restrictions on his movement and the electronic monitoring are not necessary.

Rork also said the testimony of Knowlton's children would be "peripheral" to the case.

"It is unknown how long this case will require before conclusion," Rork wrote. "With the holiday season fast approaching, this accused should be allowed to participate in traditional seasonal family gatherings."

Assistant Atty. Gen. Stephen Maxwell, who is handling the case for the state, declined comment on Rork's request.

The next hearing in Knowlton's case is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday before District Judge Thomas Conklin, who set the bail restrictions on Knowlton.

The hearing is about a request from Maxwell to have Rork disqualified as Knowlton's attorney.

Rork, too, is on the state's witness list, and Maxwell contends the attorney has a conflict of interest. Rork says his testimony wouldn't result in material evidence and has labeled Maxwell's request malicious.

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