John Hanna
Kansas government and politics reporter
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Ex-prosecutor who led USS Cole team running for Kansas AG

July 19, 2021 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A retired assistant U.S. attorney who once led the prosecution of the accused mastermind of the deadly 2000 bombing of the USS Cole is running for Kansas attorney general next year.

Tony Mattivi on Monday launched his campaign for the Republican nomination by announcing that Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett will serve as its campaign treasurer. His campaign said it plans a formal kickoff in the near future.

The GOP race already has two other major candidates. They are polarizing conservative Kris Kobach, a former Kansas secretary of state known nationally for advocating tough immigration laws, and Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Kelly Warren.


Mattivi served more than 20 years as a federal prosecutor and was the coordinator of anti-terrorism and homeland security efforts in Kansas when he retired in November.

For five years, he led the team prosecuting Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of orchestrating the USS Cole bombing in Yemen that killed 17 sailors. That case has yet to go to trial before a military commission.

Incumbent Attorney General Derek Schmidt is running for the GOP nomination for governor.

Just before Mattivi’s announcement, Kansas House Speaker Pro Tem Blaine Finch said he would not run for attorney general.


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