Kansas mayor charged with felony perjury: report


A mayor in Kansas was arrested and charged with felony perjury on Wednesday, accused of lying during a non-felony trial, court documents show, according to reports. 

Michelle Distler, 47, the mayor of Shawnee, a city about 10 miles southwest of downtown Kansas City, Kan., was released from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office on a $2,500 bond.

The Johnson County District Attorney’s office alleges that on March 7, Distler did “unlawfully, feloniously, intentionally, and falsely subscribe as true and correct under penalty of perjury any material matter in any declaration, verification, certificate or statement.”

But reports carried no plain-English details about the mayor’s alleged crime.

Charging documents, however, name more than 30 individuals and organizations as witnesses to the alleged crime, the Shawnee Mission Post reported.

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She was sworn into office in April 2015 and was re-elected to a second term in November 2019, FOX 4 of Kansas City reported.

The city released a statement on Wednesday saying officials were notified about the charge filed against Distler.

Michelle Distler, 47, the mayor of Shawnee, Kan., faces a felony perjury charge, authorities say. (Johnson County Jail)

“We want to reassure our community that City services and programs will not be impacted. Any further questions about the charge need to be directed to the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office,” the statement said

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Those named in the charging document include city council members, former Kansas state Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe, Shawnee City Attorney Ellis Rainey, as well as, personnel from 911 dispatch and the Johnson County crime lab.

Distler’s attorney, Robin Fowler, said in a statement that the mayor, “has cooperated fully in this investigation, and is disappointed that charges have been filed. She looks forward to all of the facts being presented in court, and to a just resolution of this case. She also wishes to express her heartfelt apology to anyone impacted by these events,” the Kansas City Star reported.

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Her first court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 5.



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