Ex-Ensign aide faces Dec. 15 trial on battery charge

RENO — A one-time aide to former U.S. Sen. John Ensign awaits trial Dec. 15 on charges he grabbed his wife by the throat during an argument and pushed her.

The trial date for Kevin Kirkeby was set Wednesday in East Fork Justice Court in Minden, two days after he pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of battery constituting domestic violence and coercion.

Kirkeby was Ensign’s rural coordinator for 10 years until the Republican senator from Nevada resigned in May amid an ethics investigation after Ensign’s extramarital affair with an ex-staffer.

Kirkeby also is a former White Pine County commissioner and among 38 applicants for Minden town manager.

Kirkeby, 47, is accused of grabbing his wife’s throat and squeezing while they argued Sunday at their Douglas County home about 35 miles south of Reno.

He and his lawyer, Larry Dunn, did not return phone calls seeking comment Friday.

Kirkeby told sheriff’s deputies that his wife tried to use her cellphone to call 911, but he took it from her because he wanted her to listen to him.

Kirkeby also is accused of ripping a cordless phone base from the wall. The kitchen phone was partially hanging on the wall, deputies said, and the cord had been detached.

Deputy District Attorney Karen Dustman said that to her knowledge, the woman did not have to go to the hospital. Dustman declined to discuss details of the case.

Kirkeby was released Monday from the county jail, where he had been held on $5,500 bail. Under terms of his release, he must have no contact with his wife.

Kirkeby is the latest former Ensign aide heading to trial. Doug Hampton’s trial could start in May or June in a Washington criminal case alleging he illegally lobbied Ensign.

Hampton faces charges stemming from lobbying he did on behalf of a Las Vegas airline company and an energy company. Hampton became a lobbyist after Ensign had an affair with Hampton’s wife. Ensign resigned in May over the scandal.

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