Defeated Representative Watkins to face preliminary hearing in voting case

 Scotty Smith / KTUU
Scotty Smith / KTUU (KTUU)
Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 4:34 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - U.S. Representative Steven Charles Watkins Jr., 44, will face a preliminary hearing in connection with three felonies and one misdemeanor linked to alleged voting charges.

The preliminary hearing in the Watkins case was added on Thursday and will be held on Feb. 4, at 9:30 a.m.

Watkins is charged with felony counts of interference with a law enforcement officer in falsely reporting a felony intending to obstruct justice; voting without being qualified; and knowingly marking or transmitting more than one advance ballot, according to Shawnee County District Court records.

Watkins also is charged with a misdemeanor count of notice of change of address or name, according to court records.

Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay filed the charges on July 14, according to court records.

During a preliminary hearing, Watkins is to appear before Shawnee County District Court Judge David Debenham.

On Thursday morning, court records said that attorneys from the Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office and the attorney defending Watkins had agreed to pre-set the case for a preliminary hearing.

The Watkins case earlier had been scheduled to appear Thursday in court in a criminal assignment docket. That hearing was canceled, court records said.

The charges allege Watkins used the address of a UPS storefront when registering to vote, according to an NPR story.

During a campaign debate, Watkins was reported to have said the charges were “clearly hyperpolitical.”

He denied doing anything wrong.

During the primary elections in August, Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner defeated incumbent Watkins. In the November general election, LaTurner defeated Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla.

The Kansas Second Congressional District covers most of eastern Kansas.

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