By Jonathan Shorman, The Wichita Eagle
TOPEKA — A videotaped deposition of Secretary of State Kris Kobach will not be released after an attorney in his office said it would be used in last-minute attack ads against him.
Federal Judge Julie Robinson said in an order on Thursday that the tape is not part of the judicial record. The order prevents the American Civil Liberties Union from releasing the tape.
The tape provides details about Kobach’s private talks with President Donald Trump and members of Congress and was played at a federal trial earlier this year over Kansas’s proof of citizenship voting law. Robinson overturned the law, though Kansas has appealed the ruling.
A transcript of the video is public. The ACLU and Kobach had sparred over whether the video itself could be released.
In her order, Robinson said that “the public’s interest in viewing the deposition was satisfied by its publication at trial and by unsealing the transcript.”
In a court filing last week, Sue Becker, the secretary of state’s senior counsel, said the tape if released would be used in political ads targeting Kobach, who is the Republican nominee for governor.
“The release of the videotape has nothing to do with this litigation; rather it is a transparent effort by a nakedly partisan and liberal organization to inject this lawsuit and the State’s loss into the gubernatorial campaign,” Becker wrote.
Last week, the ACLU questioned why Kobach wanted to hide tape of his own sworn testimony.
“It is likely because his testimony was self-contradictory and because it lays bare Mr. Kobach’s concerted schemes to make it much more difficult for ordinary citizens to vote,”said R. Orion Danjuma, a staff attorney with the ACLU.