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One week after the NAACP wrote a letter to the King County Prosecutor's Office demanding that Deputy Prosecutor James Konat resign after he was disciplined

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James Konat, Prosecutor Disciplined for Racist Comments, Takes Indefinite "Leave of Absence"

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One week after the NAACP wrote a letter to the King County Prosecutor's Office demanding that Deputy Prosecutor James Konat resign after he was disciplined for making in-court racist comments, Konat is gone from the prosecutor's office.

Whether he'll be coming back, however, remains to be seen.

Konat, as first reported at SeattleCrime, will be taking a "leave of absence" for an unknown amount of time.

Recently, Konat was dressed down by Washington Supreme Court Justice Tom Chambers for saying "black folk don't testify against black folk" during the 2007 murder trial of Kevin L. Monday Jr.

The judge overturned Monday's conviction on the grounds that Konat's remarks unfairly prejudiced the jury against the defendant and against witnesses, many of whom said they could not recall details of the killing.

This despite clear video evidence showing that Monday was the killer.

Konat's full comment was:

"The only thing that can explain to you the reasons why witness after witness after witness is called to this stand and flat-out denies what cannot be denied on that video is the code. And the code is black folk don't testify against black folk."

After the judicial reprimand and subsequent overturning of the case, the NAACP wrote a letter to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg urging him to ask Konat to resign.

The group also held a press conference on Friday explaining their demands.

Dan Donohoe, spokesman for King County Prosecutor's Office, sent Seattle Weekly this statement summing up Chief Criminal Deputy Mark Larson's position on Konat.

The prosecutor has been unequivocal in stating that the comments in the Monday case were unprofessional, embarassing [sic] and harmful conduct.

To the extent the comments in the Monday case have increased tensions between part of the community and the criminal justice system - we are sorry.

In terms of racial tensions and/or disproportionality issues within the criminal justice system, the men and women of the King County Prosecutor's Office are devoted to making our criminal justice system reflect our vey [sic] highest ideals and ensuring that justice is for all, including crime victims, witnesses or accused persons.

We know full well that our best work is done when the community trusts and supports the criminal justice system.

What discipline was imposed? -- Discipline is an internal matter within the Prosecutor's Office. We choose not to comment publicly.

Donohoe refused to say how long Konat's leave would be for and whether it had anything to do with the overturning of the Monday verdict or the demands of the NAACP.

But if this were a planned summer vacation to Cancun or something, he probably would have said so.

Seattle King County NAACP President James Bible, meanwhile, tells Seattle Weekly that he hopes the time away from work will give Mr. Konat a chance to "reflect."

"I do think that it makes sense for him to take leave and to reflect on things," says Bible.

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