Grand jury proceedings to investigate former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office will begin next week in Douglas County District Court, according to the judge presiding over them. Judge Kay Huff said that the proceedings would begin in her courtroom on Jan. 22, a Tuesday, following Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Grand jury proceedings are closed to the public. Huff mentioned the grand jury during a hearing for a murder trial she had been scheduled to preside over this week, noting that the grand jury matter was a priority that could not be moved despite other proceedings in her courtroom.
The judge anticipates selecting the jury and calling the first witness all on Jan. 22, Douglas County District Court Clerk Douglas Hamilton said. After the first witness’s testimony, the jury will determine the course of the inquiry.
Under state law, the grand jury could request Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson’s office to participate, or it may request that a special counsel and outside investigators be hired to lead the investigation. Branson’s office has said previously that it would participate if asked.
In November, the Kansas Court of Appeals ordered Douglas County District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate allegations of election-related crimes in Republican Kobach’s office during the 2016 elections.