Hennepin Co. Attorney’s Office drops sexual assault case after attorney lies to judge

WCCO digital headlines: Morning of Jan. 11, 2023

WCCO digital headlines: Morning of Jan. 11, 2023


MINNEAPOLIS — The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office says a criminal sexual conduct case has been dropped due to attorney misconduct.

County Attorney Mary Moriarty announced the dropped case on Monday.

Moriarty says the prosecutor was admitted to lying to the judge last Friday, which was four days into the trial.

From the attorney’s office:

During a recess, while the 17-year-old alleged victim was tested with their parent in the courtroom, a victim advocate from our office passed a note to the prosecutor. The note was a reminder to the prosecutor to establish the venue for the offense. This simply means that it happened in Hennepin County.

After seeing the note passed and being concerned it could be a violation of the sequestration order, Judge Cahill called the prosecutor to the bench and questioned the prosecutor about the contents of the note. While the note was not a violation of the sequestration order and was not inappropriate in any way, the prosecutor lied to Judge Cahill about its content.

Due to the complex evidence and facts, the attorney’s office said it was “impossible” to substitute a new attorney, and dropped the case.

“We determined that the office would be unable to proceed with the prosecution, that we were no longer able to secure a conviction, and that we would be forced to dismiss the charges,” a release from the attorney’s office said.

The attorney was removed from the case and there’s now a pending investigation.

Moriarty says she’s “deeply remorseful and apologetic” to the victim in the case.

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