Kansas Rep. Watkins set for Feb. 4 hearing on going to trial

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FILE – In this Aug. 26, 2019 file photo, U.S. Rep. Steve Watkins, R-Kan., makes a point during a town hall meeting in Topeka, Kan. Freshman Rep. Watkins is fighting to keep his seat in the state’s Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 Republican primary while facing felony criminal charges. Watkins hoped to overcome a challenge from State Treasurer Jake LaTurner in the 2nd District in eastern Kansas. (AP Photo/John Hanna File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — 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 in a case 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 came to the courthouse Thursday.

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