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Missouri lawmaker indicted on fraud kicked out of GOP caucus

Associated Press
Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri House Republicans on Monday kicked a state lawmaker indicted on federal fraud charges out of their caucus. 

The closed-door vote means Derges no longer is a member of the leading House caucus. Fellow Republican House Speaker Rob Vescovo took away all her committee assignments last week, so her power as a legislator is now limited to introducing and voting on bills. 

A federal grand jury indicted Derges on fraud charges last week for falsely promoting a treatment she was selling at medical clinics as containing stem cells that could treat various diseases, including COVID-19.

The 20-count indictment also accused the 63-year-old Nixa Republican of illegally providing prescription drugs to clients and making false statements to federal agents investigating the case.

Derges was released on her own recognizance after making an initial court appearance during which she pleaded not guilty to all the charges. 

Vescovo last week asked Derges to resign, but in an email to the speaker she said her "innocence will prevail" and that she won't step down.