Controversial King County Prosecutor To Go On Leave

A controversial King County Prosecutor is scheduled to go on leave just one week after the NAACP called for him to be fired.

Last month, the State Supreme Court rebuked King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor James Konat for “racist” comments made during a 2005 homicide trial, and overturned the conviction.

A Supreme Court decision says during closing arguments in the case, Konat said “black folk don’t testify against black folk. You don’t snitch to the police.”

Last week, the NAACP sent a letter to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, asking for Konat to be fired.

According to scheduling documents released to prosecutor’s office staff this morning, Konat is listed as ‘on leave,” beginning in August.

The King County Prosecutor’s office declined to comment on the reason for Konat’s leave, and whether the leave was voluntary.

UPDATE: The Prosecutor’s Office just sent us Chief Criminal Deputy Mark Larson’s statement on Konat:

The prosecutor has been unequivocal in stating that the comments in the Monday case were unprofessional, embarassing and harmful conduct.

To the extent the comments in the Monday case have increased tensions between part of the community and the criminal justice system – we are sorry.

In terms of racial tensions and/or disproportionality issues within the criminal justice system, the men and women of the King County Prosecutor’s Office are devoted to making our criminal justice system reflect our vey highest ideals and ensuring that justice is for all, including crime victims, witnesses or accused persons.

We know full well that our best work is done when the community trusts and supports the criminal justice system.

What discipline was imposed? Discipline is an internal matter within the Prosecutor’s Office. We choose not to comment publicly.