TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An incoming Kansas lawmaker who faced a possible attempt to oust him once he took office has reached a legal agreement with a woman who accused him of harassment to end an anti-stalking court order against him, an attorney says.
The order entered by a state court judge last month against Rep.-elect Aaron Coleman was a key reason for the Kansas House's top Democrat to refuse to give the 20-year-old Kansas City, Kansas, Democrat, any committee assignments. Minority Leader Tom Sawyer also has cited it as a reason to try to expel Coleman from the House once the Legislature convenes Monday.
Barry Grissom, an attorney representing Brandie Armstrong, the woman who accused Coleman of harassing her last year, sent The Associated Press a statement saying the two had settled a civil lawsuit she filed that led to the judge's no-contact restraining order. Armstrong was campaign manager for the veteran lawmaker Coleman narrowly defeated in the Democratic primary in August.
“Brandie Armstrong and Aaron Coleman are passionate about helping their constituents,” Grissom said in the statement, sent Wednesday to The AP. “In service to their constituents, they have resolved the civil case by an agreed upon dismissal.”
The statement said there is no written agreement but a “public promise to treat each other with dignity and respect.” Coleman had faced a March 8 trial in Armstrong's lawsuit against him to determine whether the restraining order remained in place longer.
The statement said neither Coleman nor Armstrong would comment further. Coleman did not immediately respond to a text Thursday morning seeking to confirm that.
Armstrong said in her request for the court order that Coleman repeatedly sent harassing texts and personal messages to her during the campaign, came to her home in June and October and attempted to file “false and bogus” complaints against her landlord to try to get her evicted. Coleman suggested in a text last week to The Associated Press that she had lied in making her request.
Coleman ran on a progressive platform that included providing universal health coverage, ending college tuition and legalizing marijuana. He won his primary race even after admitting on social media that he had circulated revenge porn as a “sick and troubled” middle school-aged boy. He faced only write-in candidates in the general election, as at least two other cases in which he was accused of threatening or abusing girls or young women came to light.
Sawyer has said another reason to expel Coleman is a now-deleted, post-November election tweet in which Coleman suggested that Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly would face an “extremely bloody” primary in 2022 for not being progressive enough. Coleman wrote, “People will realize one day when I call a hit out on you it’s real,” and later said he meant to use the phrase ”political hit.”
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