Anti-porn group seeks to indict Johnson County District Attorney

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe could be indicted for witness tampering and obstruction of justice if the American Family Association gets its way. Last year, the anti-porn group attempted to get a citizen grand jury to declare a statue obscene so that it would be removed from the Overland Park Arboretum.

The grand jury declined and the AFA said it’s because Steve Howe hijacked the process.

“The D.A. cannot walk into that room and engineer the outcome,” Phillip Cosby, the Kansas State Director of the American Family Association, said. Now Cosby is attempting to gather 4,700 signatures to empanel a new citizen grand jury. He believes a statue of a headless bare-breasted woman taking a photo of herself is obscene because he says it represents the act of sexting.

“The question is not about breasts. The question is the act that’s being portrayed here and the unlawful nature of it,” he said.

Cosby complains the first grand jury never properly investigated the issue because they were guided by a district attorney, who Cosby says had his own agenda.

“We are seeking indictments against the Johnson County District Attorney for the crimes of witness tampering and obstruction of justice,” Cosby said.

District Attorney Steve Howe, a Republican who is serving his second term, spoke with FOX 4.

“I don’t have that power to hijack that process,” he said. “The grand jury is the one in charge. We suggested they should hear both sides of the argument and the grand jury said they did not want to.”

Howe says he was prepared to take the grand jury on a field trip to the arboretum but the 15 member panel declined. He says the grand jury spent a day reviewing photos of the statue and determined it was not obscene.

Howe says Cosby’s accusations are without merit, “To me it’s an abuse by him to make those false allegations that he knows are not true.”

Phillip Cosby convinced Kansas lawmakers to change the rules when it comes to citizen grand juries. If the American Family Association gathers enough signatures for a new panel, Cosby will present his petition to the grand jury instead of the district attorney.
“We never had a bite at the apple. It was never a fair hearing and the Kansas Legislature agreed with us,” says Cosby.

Cosby says he hopes to gather the 4,700 signatures he needs by November 1st but there’s no time limit and there’s no limit how many times he can try.

If a second grand jury fails to indict, he can try again.

email: rob.low@wdaftv4.com
Twitter: @fox4roblow

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