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BILLINGS - A top aide to Rep. Denny Rehberg pleaded not guilty Monday to poaching charges in Madison County - allegations the aide says appear to be motivated by a political campaign against his boss.

Randy Vogel was appointed state director for the Republican congressman on March 1. The next day, he was cited for illegally killing a young bull elk on a private ranch in November and obstructing a subsequent investigation.

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Vogel says he pleaded not guilty and asked for a jury trial during a brief hearing in Madison County Justice Court in Virginia City. The 57-year-old is charged with harvesting a spike bull elk during closed season, abandoning the carcass in the field, killing more than one elk without authorization and obstruction of a peace officer.

 

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