Judge fines Kobach $1,000

Kansas’ sec­re­tary of state mis­led court in an ef­fort to keep two doc­u­ments pri­vate.

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Colleen Shalby colleen.shalby @la­times.com

Kansas Sec­re­tary of State Kris Kobach has been fined $1,000 for mis­lead­ing a fed­eral court in an ef­fort to keep two doc­u­ments pri­vate. One of the doc­u­ments had been pho­tographed and widely shared last fall after Kobach met with then-Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump.

The Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union filed a law­suit last year against Kobach ar­gu­ing that his state’s proof of cit­i­zen­ship law vi­o­lates the Na­tional Voter Reg­is­tra­tion Act. ACLU lawyers asked Kobach to pro­duce two doc­u­ments they said per­tained to the case.

One of those doc­u­ments was a draft of a pro­posed amend­ment to the Na­tional Voter Reg­is­tra­tion Act. The other is the doc­u­ment pho­tographed after Kobach and Trump met in Novem­ber. The power of a zoom lens ex­posed cer­tain details of his pro­posal to Trump to de­port po­ten­tial ter­ror­ists.

Trump tapped Kobach last month to serve as vice chair­man of a pres­i­den­tial com­mis­sion to over­see a voter fraud in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In a 24-page rul­ing made pub­lic Fri­day, U.S. Mag­is­trate Judge James O’Hara wrote that Kobach did not ac­cu­rately rep­re­sent the con­tents of the doc­u­ments when he ar­gued against pro­duc­ing them.

“De­fen­dant re­fused to pro­duce these doc­u­ments, as­sert­ing that they are be­yond the scope of re­opened dis­cov­ery, do not seek rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion, and are pro­tected by the at­tor­n­ey­client, de­lib­er­a­tive-process, and ex­ec­u­tive priv­i­leges,” the judge wrote.

The court took Kobach at his word, O’Hara wrote, but upon re­view of the doc­u­ments — pro­duced un­der a court or­der — found that they did re­late to the vot­ing rights case.

The judge wrote that while the court could not say that Kobach “flat-out lied,” the “de­fen­dant’s state­ments can be con­strued as word­play meant to present a ma­te­ri­ally in­ac­cu­rate pic­ture of the doc­u­ments.”

For now, the doc­u­ments will re­main clas­si­fied, as Kobach des­ig­nated them. But, O’Hara wrote, that sta­tus could change.

John Hanna As­so­ci­ated Press

ONE of the doc­u­ments Kris Kobach tried to keep pri­vate was pho­tographed and widely shared last fall after he met with then-Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump.

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