Third Judge Named in Barkus Case

By Beacon Staff

An eastern Montana judge has been named to preside over the case of state Sen. Greg Barkus, who faces several charges stemming from a Flathead Lake boat crash that injured all five people aboard.

District Judge John McKeon of Malta was assigned to the case on Monday.

Barkus, R-Kalispell, was driving a boat that crashed into the shore at about 10 p.m. on Aug. 27, injuring U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, two of his staffers, Barkus and his wife.

Barkus has pleaded not guilty to criminal endangerment and two counts of negligent vehicular assault.

Prosecutors say Barkus’ blood-alcohol level was about twice the legal limit the night he crashed his boat atop a steep rocky outcropping. His attorney, Todd Glazier rejects the charge.

In September, all three Flathead County District Court judges recused themselves from the case. Two other judges, District Judge Nels Swandal of Livingston and District Judge Kim Christopher of Polson, have been removed. Judge McKeon has not set any hearing dates yet.

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