King hires defense attorney

Sen. Steve King: An investigation by a Front Range district attorney began with time cards submitted by King as a part-time employee of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.

The man who ran the Colorado State Public Defender system for nearly seven years will defend Mesa County’s state senator and former Republican sheriff nominee against criminal charges.

State Sen. Steve King has hired Denver defense lawyer David Kaplan, who led the state’s public defender system from January 2000 to November 2006. Kaplan, now a private defense lawyer with the firm Haddon, Morgan and Foreman, confirmed he’s representing King but declined comment on the merits of the case against him.

“I want to get more familiar with it,” he said Thursday.

Among a host of professional honors and experience, Kaplan is a former board member of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Colorado chapter as well as past president of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar.

Kaplan said he expects he’ll be with King on Monday in the courtroom of District Judge Valerie Robison for King’s first appearance since criminal charges were filed by 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler. King was issued a summons July 30 for felony counts of embezzlement of public property, forgery and theft. He also faces misdemeanor counts of forgery and official misconduct.

King’s case was reassigned to Robison after District Court Judge Thomas Deister recused himself, citing a conflict of interest. Assistant 18th Judicial District Attorney Mark Hurlbert has said King remains under criminal investigation, but has not revealed the subject of the ongoing probe.

The criminal complaint filed by Brauchler’s office accuses King of defrauding the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado Mesa University of $2,000 to $5,000, from July 1, 2013, to Dec. 19, 2013, during part-time employment at those institutions. He’s also accused of forging timecards during that period submitted to the Sheriff’s Office.

The website for Kaplan’s law firm says Kaplan supervised 270 criminal defense attorneys in the Colorado State Public Defender system, during the same time period King was employed in multiple roles investigating crime and bringing cases with the Grand Junction Police Department and Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. Many of those cases were defended by the public defender’s office.

King left the Sheriff’s Office as an investigator upon election in 2006 to the Colorado House. He was elected to the state Senate in 2010. His term is scheduled to expire in January.


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