Janklow Pleads Not Guilty to Charges in Fatal Accident

Four days after saying he "couldn't be sorrier" for a traffic collision that killed a motorcyclist, Rep. Bill Janklow (search) pleaded innocent Friday to manslaughter.

The Republican former governor also pleaded innocent on three misdemeanor charges in the Aug. 16 wreck.

Authorities allege Janklow was driving a Cadillac (search) 71 mph in a 55-mph zone and had just run a stop sign at a rural intersection near Trent when he collided with the Harley-Davidson (search), killing 55-year-old Randy Scott.

Trial was set for Dec. 1.

Besides second-degree manslaughter, which has a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, Janklow is charged with reckless driving, speeding and running a stop sign.

He is allowed to remain free on a personal recognizance bond.

Some Scott relatives and Janklow supporters attended Friday's session, which lasted only a few minutes in a packed courtroom.

Outsider were about a dozen protesters. As Janklow left, some yelled chants such as, "No justice, no peace," and "He's a killer."

Janklow, 64, had told an investigator he saw the stop sign but was going too fast to stop before colliding with the motorcycle.

On Monday, Janklow called a news conference in Sioux Falls and said he "couldn't be sorrier" for the accident. He also said he still suffers from memory loss and confusion from a head injury. But Janklow said he had no plans to resign because he's still able to carry out his duties.

He had waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

A misdemeanor conviction would not affect Janklow's ability to serve in Congress. A felony conviction would bring an automatic investigation by the House ethics committee.

The committee's rules say representatives who plead guilty or are convicted of a crime that carries two or more years in prison should refrain from voting in the chamber until his or her record is cleared, or until re-elected.

Janklow's term expires at the end of next year.