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Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler reaches diversion agreement on perjury charge

Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler mug
Posted at 2:10 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 17:03:13-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler reached a diversion agreement this week with the Johnson County district attorney over a felony perjury charge filed against her in December.

Johnson County court records show an order of diversion was filed in Distler’s case on Tuesday. On Wednesday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Johnson County District Attorney's Office said the mayor had accepted a "standard diversion contract."

"She will be required to comply with all the terms of this agreement," the spokeswoman said.

An attorney for Distler did not immediately return a message from 41 Action News.

According to the DA's office, diversion grants a "second chance" to those who commit "relatively minor" offenses if they fulfill the conditions outlined in the agreement.

Distler, 47, was charged in December with one count of felony perjury after she allegedly misrepresented herself in a complaint to the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, using someone else’s name to sign the form.

According to an affidavit filed in Johnson County, Distler filed the complaint in March over an email chain involving “governing body members” of the city.

She told investigators that she only wanted to include the name of a known "watchdog" in the city so that he would receive a copy of the report. Instead, Distler sent the form under his name.

According to records, Distler told the city attorney and District Attorney Steve Howe that she was “fully responsible” and had “messed up.”

Distler had to sign and verify "under penalty of perjury" that the information in her complaint was correct in order to send the form. She also had to verify the report using a CAPTCHA code.

She was released after her arrest on a $2,500 bond.

Distler currently is serving her second term as the city's mayor. She previously served as a city councilwoman.