County Attorney candidate promises new approach to DOJ investigation


MISSOULA, Mont. - A Missoula prosecutor vows to participate with federal investigators if he's elected county attorney next year.

Deputy County Attorney Jason Marks announced this weekend he's running for the job, left open after current County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg retires.

Van Valkenburg made headlines last year when refused to participate with a Department of Justice investigation into sexual assault cases.

"I would certainly like to resolve any outstanding issues because I don't think it serves anyone well to have this just kind of hanging out there," Marks tells NBC Montana.  "I need to talk to them (Department of Justice) and kind of understand where they're at before we can accomplish anything."

Marks says he plans to open communication with the justice department and victims of sexual assault.

"I think maybe where we've fallen down is in either communicating with victims or communicating with law enforcement and reviewing these cases in a timely fashion," says Marks.  "That's something I definitely think we can improve on and I would like to improve on immediately."

Marks is the first candidate to announce his intentions. 

County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg recently announced he will not run for re-election because he plans to retire.

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