A federal judge rejected a Nixa state lawmaker's request for the court to dismiss federal charges against her this week, agreeing with a December recommendation.
U.S. District Court Judge Brian Wimes ruled that the dismissal request from Rep. Tricia Derges, a Nixa Republican who was indicted on 23 federal charges last year, was "frivolous and unsupported by law." Derges is alleged to have sold fake stem cell treatments, fraudulently used federal pandemic aid, wrote illegal prescriptions and lied to federal investigators; she has denied any wrongdoing.
Derges and her attorney Al Watkins argued in a September filing that the charges should be dismissed or that a prosecutor who they allege had a conflict of interest be recused from the case. That same filing criticized federal law enforcement's handling of the case, arguing they were making "misrepresentations." Watkins said in an earlier interview that a witness who was sidelined by illness "doesn't want to be forced to testify."
The U.S. Attorney's Office called those allegations "baseless" in a response filed days later.
"Given the meandering factual allegations and arguments in her brief, it seems that defendant is attempting to weave an elaborate (and largely, unsubstantiated) narrative," U.S. Magistrate Judge David Rush wrote in his December recommendation. "The illogical and frivolous nature of the facts and arguments presented are self-evident."
Rush also said "there is no conflict of loyalties or appearance of impropriety" in the prosecutor's role within the case.
Derges' trial is set for June 6. She has been expelled from the House Republican caucus and stripped of her committee assignments, but has been present on the House floor in the opening weeks of the 2022 legislative session. She has said she will not resign from the seat.
This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Indicted Nixa lawmaker Tricia Derges' trial set for June 6