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A federal judge has ordered the attorney for the Utah Republican Party to show why he shouldn't be held in contempt of court for repeatedly missing filing deadlines in the ongoing dispute over a law changing the state's nominating system.
U.S. District Judge David Nuffer said in an order Thursday that attorney Marcus Mumford has missed 17 filing deadlines after he was asked to toss out the party's latest motion for summary judgment in the case because it was not filed in time.
Nuffer said Mumford could be disqualified from the case and sanctioned if he cannot explain the repeated missed deadlines.
However, in a filing Friday, Mumford contended that lawyers from the attorney general's office are distorting the facts and they, too, have missed deadlines throughout the litigation. While Mumford said he has agreed to extensions for the state attorneys to file, the attorney general's representatives have refused to return the favor.
He argued that it is Assistant Attorney General David Wolf and Parker Douglas, the attorney general's chief of staff, who should be sanctioned for their "lack of candor and gamesmanship."
Nuffer ended up refusing to disregard the party's latest motion, but he has given Mumford until Tuesdsay to explain why he should not be held in contempt.
The sides are sparring over SB 54, which changed the way parties nominate their candidates for office. The bill was a compromise between the Legislature and the Count My Vote group, which sought direct primary elections.
The party says the changes strip the party of the ability to determine who represents the party on the ballot.