Kansas Secretary of State and GOP gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach is desperately trying to publicly prevent the release of parts of a deposition tape — played at a trial over one of his voter restrictions — before Election Day.
Kobach is specifically concerned that the video will be used in “last-minute political commercials targeting the Defendant personally,” Kobach said in a court filing Wednesday evening.
“Indeed, the only reason that Plaintiffs are requesting the release of the video is to allow it to be used by partisan organizations and political candidates opposing Secretary Kobach’s gubernatorial campaign,” Kobach said in the filing, which asked the judge — if she ruled in favor of releasing the video — to pause that decision so he could appeal it to a higher court.
The video excerpts were played at the trial last March, where the ACLU and others were challenging his proof-of-citizenship voter registration requirement. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ultimately knocked down the requirement — a decision that’s currently on appeal.
In the video, Kobach discussed a meeting with then-President elect Donald Trump in 2016, where he brought a proposal paper with recommendations for legislation that would have incentivized other states to adopt voting restrictions like Kansas’. While the transcript from the deposition was made part of the judicial record, the video itself reveals Kobach’s body language during the testimony, during which he was exasperated, frustrated and annoyed with the questioning.
Kobach’s team at the time was unsuccessful in preventing it from being played in the courtroom where the public and media, including TPM, would view it.
He is now pointing to the judge’s decision to include just the transcript, and not the video itself, in the judicial record as reason it should not be released now.
The ACLU has taken the position that releasing the video would not violate the terms laid out by the judge during the trial. The organization has also included in its filings letters from media outlets seeking access to the video excerpts.
Kobach, in his filing Wednesday, questioned the timing of those media requests.
“What seems beyond cavil here is that the only public interests that could be implicated are those that the media and the ACLU hope to generate during the last three weeks of the Secretary’s campaign for Governor,” he said. He argued if released, it would cost him “tens of thousands of dollars in new ads and manpower to attempt to respond to whatever assertions are made using cobbled together deposition soundbites.”
Read the filing here: