The entry to the Hennepin County Government Center (Elijah Todd-Walden/BLCK press)
The Hennepin County Attorney’s office dropped a felony rape case on Monday after a prosecutor admitted to lying to the judge.
During the trial, a victim advocate passed a note to the prosecutor, advising her to establish the venue of the offense. The note itself was not a violation, but the prosecutor lied to Judge Peter Cahill about the content of the note.
“The public rightly holds us to the highest expectations,” Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty said. “And this conduct is an extraordinary breach of the public trust.”
The lawyer admitted to lying to the judge during a recess in the trial. That was only after the victim advocate revealed the contents of the note to his supervisors. The prosecutor is now undergoing a personnel investigation.
“If you have a prosecutor that’s making false statements to the courts, there’s a potential can of worms that happens in the employment context and then also potentially for other cases that the lawyer has litigated…to be revisited.” Jeff Storms, a civil rights lawyer in the Twin Cities, said.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said that, due to the double jeopardy clause, it is no longer able to secure a conviction and was forced to dismiss the charges. The defendant was released Monday morning after spending nine months in jail awaiting trial.