FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 31, 2022
BREAKING: DEREK SCHMIDT CONTINUES TO EMPLOY LAWYER WHO COMMITTED MISCONDUCT
Topeka Capital-Journal: “Among the litany of misconduct identified by the judge, Brancart suborned perjury from a jailhouse informant, whose lies helped send an innocent man to prison for 12 years for a deadly shooting he didn’t commit.”
Topeka, KS – Today, a new report by the Topeka Capital-Journal asserted that Derek Schmidt has continued to employ Ed Brancart as a prosecutor even after a Kansas judge ruled that he “engaged in serious prosecutorial misconduct to win a wrongful conviction.” After serving nearly 13 years for a crime he did not commit, the state was forced to pay over $800,000 to the estate of Pete Coones for the wrongful conviction. Coones died soon after he was released.
“Derek Schmidt must answer for why he has continued to use taxpayer funds to employ a lawyer with a shocking track record of misconduct,” said Emma O’Brien, spokesperson for the KDP. “The attorney general is the top law enforcement official of the state, yet Schmidt clearly believes he and his staff are above the law. It’s unacceptable, and Kansans deserve to hear directly from Schmidt why he has failed them.”
As the Topeka Capital-Journal notes, Wyandotte County District Court Judge Bill Klapper, who vacated the charges against Coones, claimed Brancart “committed prosecutorial error and misconduct,” “knowingly suborned perjured testimony,” “failed to correct the false testimony when it appeared on the record,” and “suppressed material, exculpatory, and impeaching evidence.” Despite this blatant and deliberate misconduct, Brancart remains employed by Schmidt, whose office refused to comment on the matter.
Read more about Schmidt’s employee committing misconduct here, or key quotes below:
- “Among the litany of misconduct identified by the judge, Brancart suborned perjury from a jailhouse informant, whose lies helped send an innocent man to prison for 12 years for a deadly shooting he didn’t commit.”
- “Brancart remains a prosecutor, working for Attorney General Derek Schmidt, even after the Kansas Attorney General’s Office approved more than $826,000 in compensation to the estate of Olin “Pete” Coones, who died months after his exoneration.”
- “Coones died Feb. 21, 2021, at age 64 of cancer that went undiagnosed and untreated during his wrongful imprisonment.”
- “…Coones was put behind bars because of misconduct by a local prosecutor who is now a high-ranking assistant attorney general.”
- “Brancart is the deputy director of the attorney general’s Medicaid fraud and abuse division. A government salary database shows his compensation was $110,316 in 2021. He also remains listed on the board of trustees for the Kansas Prosecutors Foundation.”
- “Klapper said the prosecutor ‘committed prosecutorial error and misconduct.’ The prosecutor “knowingly suborned perjured testimony’ and ‘failed to correct the false testimony when it appeared on the record.’ He also “suppressed material, exculpatory, and impeaching evidence.’”
- “In response to a question about whether Brancart has or will potentially face any discipline, a spokesperson said the Attorney General’s Office doesn’t comment on personnel matters.”
- “No physical evidence connected Coones to the killing, while he had an alibi.”