Arraignment of State Sen. Barkus Set for Monday

By Beacon Staff

KALISPELL – The arraignment of state Sen. Greg Barkus is expected to be held as scheduled Monday, despite a motion from his attorney to unseat the presiding judge.

The Kalispell Republican was charged after an August boat crash on Flathead Lake that injured U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg and others. Prosecutors say Barkus’ blood alcohol content was twice the legal driving limit.

All three district judges in Kalispell recused themselves to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Barkus carried legislation to increase the number of judges in several Montana districts, including the Flathead.

After their recusals, District Judge Kim Christopher of Lake County was eventually given jurisdiction over the case.

But on Friday, Barkus’ attorney filed a motion saying Christopher could not preside over the case because jurisdiction was appointed to him by a judge who did not have that obligation.

Leeann Erickson, Christopher’s judicial assistant, says the arraignment will go as planned, but the judge will address the motion.

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