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Judge rules on evidence issue in upcoming lawmaker trial

North Dakota Rep. Jason Dockter, R-Bismarck, participates in a particular session of the Legislature on Oct. 23, 2023. (Kyle Martin/For the North Dakota Monitor)

A choose presiding over the upcoming trial of a state lawmaker for an ethics-related cost on Tuesday denied a request by the protection to restrict evidence associated to votes forged by the legislator in 2021.

Rep. Jason Dockter, R-Bismarck, was charged in December with a misdemeanor crime alleging he violated state regulation by voting on laws he had a monetary curiosity in.

The consultant has pleaded not responsible to the misdemeanor cost. His legal professional has beforehand declined interview requests.

At the middle of the case is a Bismarck constructing partially owned by Dockter and leased to the Attorney General’s Office and the North Dakota Department of Health.

The lease to the AG’s workplace initially got here collectively throughout Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s tenure. Dockter helped coordinate the deal, a 2022 report by the state auditor confirmed. The consultant was a pal of Stenehjem’s and beforehand served as his marketing campaign treasurer. Stenehjem died in workplace in 2022.

During the 2021 common session, Dockter voted on each the Attorney General’s Office finances and the Department of Health finances, in response to the Legislature’s web site.

In 2023, the consultant once more voted on the Department of Health finances, however wasn’t current for votes on the Attorney General’s Office finances.

In a Monday listening to, Dockter’s legal professional, Lloyd Suhr, argued that evidence associated to the 2021 votes needs to be analyzed in response to rules governing alleged prior dangerous acts as a result of they lie exterior the state’s two-year statute of limitations for the prosecution of misdemeanors.

South Central Judicial District Judge Bobbi Weiler denied Suhr’s request, concluding that evidence associated to the 2021 votes “is part of the conduct leading up to” Dockter’s vote in the course of the 2023 session.

“Evidence regarding the 2021 votes explains the circumstances and the context of the crime charged because the 2021 votes, and the 2023 vote, all relate to Mr. Dockter allegedly taking official actions likely to benefit himself financially,” she wrote in the Tuesday order.

The case is scheduled for a jury trial on Friday beginning at 9 a.m. in the Burleigh County Courthouse.

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The submit Judge rules on evidence issue in upcoming lawmaker trial appeared first on North Dakota Monitor.

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