Rep. Watkins seeks to disqualify prosecutor in voting case

photo by: AP File Photo

Rep. Steve Watkins, R-Kan., speaks as the House of Representatives debates the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. (House Television via AP)

TOPEKA — A freshman Kansas congressman who listed a UPS Inc. postal box as his residence on a voter registration form is seeking to disqualify a prosecutor from pursuing a case against him.

Kansas Congressman Steve Watkins’ attorney filed a motion Wednesday night asserting that Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay has a conflict of interest and that the case is politically motivated, The Kansas City Star reports.

Watkins, whom fellow Republicans are pushing to oust from the eastern Kansas seat he won in 2018, faces three felony charges and one misdemeanor charge related to an investigation into whether he voted illegally in a 2019 municipal election. The criminal complaint said he provided false information to a sheriff’s deputy who was looking into whether he broke state election laws.

Kagay, a Republican who will stand for re-election this year, announced the charges shortly before Watkins was set to appear in a televised primary debate.

The motion from Watkins’ team points to the timing of the charges and to connections between Kagay and Watkins’ primary opponent, Jake LaTurner, through a shared direct mail vendor. LaTurner, the Kansas treasurer, called the assertion absurd Wednesday, noting that hundreds of Republicans use the firm.

Kagay did not immediately reply to an email from The Star about the motion.

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