AUGUSTA — State Rep. Maeghan Maloney’s been nominated as interim district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties and she wants that job, but the governor has yet to make the appointment.

In the meantime, the Augusta Democrat has filed papers to run for re-election in District 57 in the House. It’s essentially a placeholder.

“I’m expecting there will be action on the interim district attorney position before the primary,” she said.

She might be waiting for some time.

Adrienne Bennett, press secretary for Gov. Paul LePage, said on Sunday that the governor is waiting for the two county Democratic committees to put forward a second name as well, that of Alan Kelley, the deputy district attorney who has worked in the office since 1979 and is now acting district attorney. She said the governor expected not just Maloney’s name but Kelley’s also on a list of nominees.

“We feel that his name should have been put forward as well,” Bennett said.

Sarah Fuller, who served as secretary at a Feb. 8 joint meeting of the Kennebec and Somerset County Democratic Committees, said Sunday that the committees have not heard back from the governor’s office.

Under state law, a replacement district attorney has to be from the same political party — in this case, Democrat — and LePage can only select from a list of names provided by the county party committee or committees.

Maloney said if she is appointed interim district attorney, she will withdraw her name as a legislative candidate, and the Democratic party can put in another person to replace her, she said. She filed re-election papers with the Secretary of state’s office on Friday.

Her real goal, she says, is to be named interim district attorney and then follow that up with a full-fledged campaign to be elected to that post. District attorneys hold four-year terms.

“I have loved serving the people of Maine as a representative, and I look forward to continuing that service as a district attorney,” she said. “I urge Governor LePage to take a moment from his busy schedule to put me to work for him on our common agenda of ending domestic violence and honoring our veterans.”

She’s been an attorney for almost 15 years and in solo family practice in Augusta while serving as a first-time legislator.

Maloney has done criminal as well as civil litigation, working as an assistant attorney general in Maine and prior to that in Oregon as a deputy district attorney — which she is careful to point out is the equivalent of an assistant district attorney’s role in Maine.

Maloney said Saturday she is looking forward to talking with LePage soon. She sponsored a bill for a separate court for veterans with substance abuse problems or mental illness that she expects to be adopted and then signed by the governor.

Maloney said the timing of her nomination is good because she is finishing her work in the second session of the 125th Legislature.

While the post of district attorney is unfilled, Kelley is acting district attorney, a job outlined in state law: “In the absence of the district attorney, the deputy shall act in the district attorney’s place and has the authority, duties and responsibilities of the district attorney.”

He’s been running the district attorney’s office in both counties and attending the county commissioners’ meetings in both Kennebec and Somerset counties.

As deputy district attorney, Kelley handled the most complex trials in the district attorney’s caseload.

He also specialized in child abuse and sex abuse cases.

Kelley prosecuted Daniel Fortune, convicted of multiple counts of aggravated attempted murder and elevated aggravated assault in a home invasion in Pittston that left a father and daughter maimed. In December, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld a sentence that will keep Fortune behind bars for the rest of his life.

Kelley also was the prosecutor most recently when a jury convicted Raymond Bellavance of arson at the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop in Vassalboro. Bellavance is due to be sentenced March 19.

In 2001, Kelley was deputy district attorney when he ran as a Republican against Democrat Evert Fowle, who was then an assistant district attorney. The two competed to fill the job being vacated by David Crook.

Prior to becoming a judge last month, Fowle threw his full support to Kelley to replace him.

However, the Democratic county committees in Kennebec and Somerset voted to put forward only Maloney’s name for the interim post.

Kelley, of West Gardiner, switched his party affiliation to Democratic a few years ago. He graduated from William and Mary Law School in 1976.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

 

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