Platte County prosecutor will investigate KC Councilman Brooks - KCTV5

Platte County prosecutor will investigate KC Councilman Brooks

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Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd has been named as a special prosecutor to review allegations that Kansas City Councilman Michael Brooks choked and assaulted his council aide.

The Jackson County Prosecutor's Office had cited a potential conflict of interest in asking that a special prosecutor be appointed. A member of the prosecutor's staff is reportedly running for Brooks' seat. Jackson County Judge Marco Roldan, who is the presiding judge for Jackson County, appointed Zahnd.

A spokeswoman for Zahnd said he would have no immediate comment on his appointment. He will review the case file submitted by the Kansas City Police Department, which has concluded its investigation.

Brooks announced on Wednesday that he was stepping down on Jan. 2. from his seat amid the workplace violence allegations. He has denied the allegations, but said it was best for him to resign.

The Kansas City Council agreed Thursday to begin accepting applications from candidates to replace Brooks. Mayor Sly James will tap a group of Fifth District residents who already serve on municipal commissions and boards to review the applications. The citizens group will submit a panel of three qualified residents for the council to review. The person appointed to replace Brooks will serve until Aug. 1, and the hope is to make the appointment by Feb. 1.

The Fifth District in-district seat will be on the spring ballot. The council is expected to appoint someone who isn't running for the seat in order to avoid giving anyone an unfair advantage.

City Attorney Bill Geary on Tuesday had recommended that the council undertake a public hearing about the allegations and consider disciplining Brooks. Geary had wanted the council to vote on Thursday to set a hearing, possibly as soon as next month.

Brooks' aide alleged that Brooks repeatedly initiated "unwanted touching" that escalated into punching and choking her on Election Day.

The city plans to post on its website at the application for council candidates.

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