TOPEKA, Kan. — A hearing is set for Feb. 4 to determine whether defeated Rep. Steve Watkins will face a trial on charges of felony election fraud and other crimes.
The Republican congressman for eastern Kansas had initially faced his first appearance in state district court Thursday in Topeka on three felony charges arising from his listing a postal box at a UPS Inc. store as his residence on a state voter registration form. But Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay said Watkins' attorney sought beforehand to schedule a hearing to determine whether Kagay's office has enough evidence to warrant a trial.
Neither Watkins nor his attorney appeared at the courthouse Thursday. His attorney didn't immediately return a telephone message Thursday evening seeking comment. Watkins has called the charges “bogus.”
Watkins is accused of voting illegally in a Topeka City Council race in November 2019 and of trying to mislead a sheriff’s detective investigating whether he broke state election laws. Watkins' corrected voter-registration address was an apartment outside the City Council district that includes the UPS store.
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