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Watkins files motion to remove Shawnee Co. DA from case

13 News at 10 -- Second District Congressman Steve Watkins said he did nothing wrong after...
13 News at 10 -- Second District Congressman Steve Watkins said he did nothing wrong after being charged with three felony counts and one misdemeanor.
Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 10:37 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Rep. Steve Watkins campaign has filed a motion in Shawnee County District Court to remove Shawnee County District Attorney, Mike Kagay, from his case.

Watkins faces criminal charges he unlawfully voted in a 2019 Topeka City Council election, and lied to a detective investigating the case.

According to the motion, Watkins claims the charges are politically motivated.

“In an unprecedented interference in the electoral politics of a Kansas Congressional race, the District Attorney waited five months after an investigation to file a three-count felony complaint against a sitting member of Congress on the eve of absentee voting and 20 days away from his contested primary election,” it said in the motion.

The motion also claims Kagay and Kansas State Treasurer, Jake LaTurner, shared consultants and claims it shows a conflict of interest in the case.

It specifically names Singularis Group, and Kris Van Meteren.

“The District Attorney and LaTurner have paid Van Meteren’s company, Singularis, thousands of dollars over the past several years,” it said in the motion.

The motion also calls for the courts to appoint a special prosecutor, or someone from the Attorney General’s office to prosecute the case.

Kagay filed felony counts Tuesday of interference with law enforcement for providing false information, voting without being qualified, and unlawful advance voting, plus a misdemeanor for not notifying the DMV of an address change. The charges stem from the 2019 Topeka City Council election, when Watkins registered using the address of a UPS store. He said it was a mistake, and later changed it to a west Topeka apartment complex.

Kagay issued a news release announcing the charges around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, about 45 minutes before Watkins and Republican challengers Jake LaTurner and Dennis Taylor met in a debate.

Watkins called the timing “hyper-political,” but Kagay says it simply was the timeline on which the case unfolded.

“We don’t do anything based on politics” Kagay told 13 NEWS. “We’re in the Capital City. We deal with a lot of situations that could be political and sometimes people in public office are subject to an inquiry. But I have worked very hard that this office is above that.”

Kagay said he met LaTurner once, in passing, and has no relationship with him. As to allegations from Watkins’ campaign that Kagay and LaTurner share a consultant, Kagay said he only recently learned that they used the same political mailing company in the past.

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