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Trump: I could have won Minnesota with one more visit

Plus: Lawyers for officer who shot Philando Castile say he saw a gun; Minnesota Court of Appeals rules in Viagra case; police dog in Coon Rapids attacks 81-year-old woman; and more.

Trump supporters in a cargo hangar at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for his Nov. 6 rally.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Not saying it’s out of the question. An AP story says, “The 2016 election is never far from President Donald Trump’s mind. When Trump met Tuesday with a group of sheriffs from around the country, he saw not just lawmen but battleground states. Trump talked about his victories with officials from Pennsylvania and North Carolina. And when a sheriff from Minnesota introduced himself, Trump said if he had campaigned in the state one more time he would have won it. More than two weeks into his presidency, the president is still fixated on the 2016 campaign.” There must have been three million illegal votes here alone.

Says Chao Xiong in the Strib, “Attorneys representing officer Jeronimo Yanez said their client saw a gun the day he fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop, contradicting claims by prosecutors that he never saw the weapon and later provided conflicting statements about it. … ‘The State’s claims that Office [sic] Yanez ‘never saw a gun’ … is not supported by the video and resulting facts,’ said the memo. ‘The phrase the State quotes from Officer Yanez’s subsequent conversation at the scene — ‘I don’t know where the gun was’ — doesn’t prove the gun didn’t exist.’” Excuse me, what?

These guys, again. Stephen Montemayor of the Strib says, “A Minnesota lawyer who has drawn scorn for his tactics in filing porn copyright lawsuits and disability litigation has been indicted alongside a longtime partner in a multimillion-fraud and extortion conspiracy that counted as its victims hundreds of people nationwide and the court system itself. Authorities arrested Paul Hansmeier, 35, of Woodbury, and John L. Steele, 45, an attorney in Illinois who was a former classmate of Hansmeier’s at the University of Minnesota Law School, shortly before U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger announced charges Friday morning.”

This’ll hurt. The AP says, “Gov. Mark Dayton says he’ll undergo surgery in early March to treat his prostate cancer. The Democratic governor revealed his diagnosis late last month, a day after collapsing during his State of the State address. His doctors have said the cancer was caught early and is treatable through surgery or radiation. It has not spread beyond his prostate. Dayton wrote on his personal Facebook page Tuesday that he is scheduled to have his prostate removed on March 2.”

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Not related. Gretchen Brown for the Forum News Service says, “A Willmar, Minnesota, pharmacist who inadvertently provided information about a man’s Viagra prescription to his estranged wife did not legally invade his privacy, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Monday. The man and his current wife originally filed a civil lawsuit in Nov. 2014 in Kandiyohi County District Court against the pharmacist and her employer, Kmart Corporation, alleging the pharmacist had publicized private facts and the company had negligently trained the pharmacist. The lawsuit was filed under Jane Doe and John Doe monikers for the plaintiffs for privacy reasons.”

Today in weed. For Reuters, Renita Young writes, “Minnesota has launched an investigation to find the source of seed mixes contaminated with weed seeds after the aggressive, herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth weed was found on 30 areas planted in a federal conservation program. The weed grows very fast, reaching up to 8 feet in height and can hold back commercial crops, potentially threatening hundreds of millions of dollars of production. Yield losses have been reported of up to 91 percent in corn and 79 percent in soybeans, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in areas where the weed has previously been found.”

Not quite your average dog-bites-man story. Says Laura Yuen at MPR, “The Coon Rapids police chief is characterizing an attack by one of his department’s police dogs on an elderly Hmong woman as tragic but ‘bizarre.’ Choua Xiong, 81, remains hospitalized after she was bitten by the dog early Sunday while rummaging through her backyard shed. Police Chief Brad Wise said his officers will not be investigated, and as unfortunate as the incident was, they acted appropriately given the information they had on hand.”

Not exactly a rainbow coalition. Peter Cox for MPR says, “Four men moved forward to fill four open seats on the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents. A House and Senate joint higher education committee on Tuesday nominated three current regents, as well as a familiar name in Minnesota politics, as candidates. Their names will be passed along for a vote by the Legislature later this month. Current regent Darrin Rosha was nominated for the Third District, as was current regent David McMillan in the Eighth District. In the closest contest Tuesday, current regent Thomas Devine edged out General Mills CEO Ken Powell for the at-large seat. Former Minnesota House speaker Steve Sviggum, whose name was added as a candidate for consideration just days ago, was also nominated Tuesday night.”