The Missouri court system has taken the first step toward stripping former prosecutor and chairman of the state's Democratic Party Mike Sanders of his law license.

Missouri Chief Justice Zel Fischer has signed an order giving Sanders until Feb. 26 to show why his law license shouldn't be suspended on an interim basis, pending the final disposition of his criminal case. Sanders, 50, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty last month to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Sanders had been on a trajectory to run for statewide or congressional office before resigning two years ago as Jackson County executive. He admitted in federal court to illegally spending up to $40,000 in campaign cash on vacations and other personal expenses.