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Utah lawmaker pleads no contest in poaching case, faces GOP primary

Rep. Travis Seegmiller
Posted at 10:04 AM, Apr 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-10 18:03:50-04

Rep. Travis Seegmiller pleaded no contest to a poaching-related charge ahead of the weekend's Washington County Republican Party convention, where he was forced into a primary.

Court records show Rep. Seegmiller, R-St. George, entered a plea in abeyance in Washington County Justice Court on Friday to taking wildlife while trespassing, a class B misdemeanor. According to a plea agreement filed in court, Rep. Seegmiller admitted to shooting a deer on private land without permission of the land owner. He also admitted to unlawfully entering the property to retrieve the deer.

FOX 13 News reported in February the southern Utah lawmaker was working toward a plea deal.

In exchange for the plea, Millard Co. prosecutors (who are handling the case) dropped other charges. A plea in abeyance means that if he commits no further violations of the law, the case is dismissed against Rep. Seegmiller within six months. A plea of "no contest" means a person does not challenge the evidence against them and is treated as a guilty plea by the courts.

Rep. Seegmiller had no comment on the plea deal, according to a spokesperson for the House Majority Caucus. Because of his conviction, the Utah House of Representatives could launch an ethics investigation against Rep. Seegmiller. A spokesperson for Speaker Brad Wilson said he did not immediately have a comment on the plea deal or its impact on Rep. Seegmiller's standing in the House.

On Saturday, the Washington County Republican Party delegates voted to send Rep. Seegmiller into a primary against Colin Jack. Nina Barnes, another candidate in the race, had gathered signatures and will also secure a spot on the June primary ballot.