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Hennepin County approves $190,000 to settle complaint against County Attorney Mike Freeman

Plus: Hennepin County Sheriff Hutchinson taking leave for health reasons; Walz activates National Guard to help with flooding in NE Minnesota; middle school principal with Burnsville-Eagan-Savage school district charged with trying to hire 15-year-old prostitute; and more.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman
REUTERS/Eric Miller
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman
Lou Raguse reports for KARE 11:The Hennepin County Board approved a $190,000 settlement with a top veteran prosecutor after she filed a discrimination complaint against County Attorney Mike Freeman. As part of the the settlement, Amy Sweasy will no longer answer to Freeman. She will instead report exclusively to Criminal Deputy County Attorney Dan Mabley, a former judge now assisting the county attorney’s office. Details of the complaint Sweasy made against Freeman to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights are not included the public settlement documents. Hennepin County Administrator David Hough signed the settlement agreement April 19.”

In the Star Tribune, David Chanen writes: “Embattled Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson is taking an immediate leave of absence from his elected position for what he called health-related reasons. No specific reason or length of time was given in an e-mail that went out to Sheriff’s Office staff on Thursday afternoon. Hutchinson declined to comment. …In December, Hutchinson, 41, crashed his county-owned sport-utility vehicle on Interstate 94 outside Alexandria, Minn., after a state sheriffs’ convention. Authorities determined he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.13%, nearly twice the legal limit for driving in Minnesota.”

The AP reports: “Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday activated the National Guard to help control record flooding in areas of northeastern Minnesota. Emergency management officials in St. Louis and Koochiching counties requested the assistance to deal with high water caused by heavy spring rains and rapid snowmelt throughout the Rainy River basin. Record high water has been measured on the Rainy River headwaters, including Lake Vermilion, and docks and boathouses have sustained damage on several lakes. …More rain is forecast for the coming days, which will likely push many lake and river levels beyond their historic highs of 2014 and 1950, Walz said.”

An MPR story says, “The chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota apologized Thursday for an image that was projected at the party’s state convention of George Soros manipulating the strings of puppets with the faces of two prominent Jewish Democrats.  Republican Party Chair David Hann said in a statement that after speaking to staff at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, the party understands concerns that the imagery perpetuated an antisemitic trope.… The image was contained in a video shown by secretary of state candidate Kim Crockett. The faces on the puppets were DFL elections attorney Marc Elias and Secretary of State Steve Simon. Soros is also Jewish.”

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KSTP-TV reports: “The trial for the man accused of killing one and wounding four others during a shooting at a Buffalo, Minnesota medical clinic last year will begin opening statements on Monday, according to the Wright County Attorney’s Office. Opening statements are tentatively scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Monday. The suspect, 68-year-old Gregory Ulrich, faces charges that include murder and attempted murder for the Feb. 9, 2021, shooting at Allina Health Clinic. He also faces charges for setting off pipe bombs during the attack.”

Christopher Magan writes in the Pioneer Press: “Genetic sequencing of positive COVID-19 tests has emphasized what Twin Cities wastewater data has shown for weeks — several omicron variants of the coronavirus are driving the latest increase in Minnesota cases. … The BA.2 variant continues to dominate in Minnesota, but sub-variants BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 also have been detected both by epidemiological surveillance and in wastewater, the state Department of Health report said. … All omicron strains have shown they can infect people who are vaccinated and boosted as well as those who have protection from prior infection. The BA.4 and BA.5 strains are believed to be even more contagious than previous versions of omicron.”

Steve Karnowski writes for the AP: “An effort to ban ‘conversion therapy’ for LGBTQ youth won a majority in the Republican-controlled Minnesota Senate on Thursday, but it didn’t get enough votes on a procedural maneuver to advance to a full debate on the bill’s merits. With little advance warning, Democratic Sen. Scott Dibble, of Minneapolis, tried to pull his bill out of a committee, where it has languished for two years without a hearing, and tee it up for a Senate floor vote. The vote was 34-31, but that was short of the required 41 votes under Senate rules. ”

Also in the Pioneer Press, Nick Ferraro writes: “A middle school principal with the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage school district has been charged with trying to hire a 15-year-old prostitute who was actually an undercover police officer working a sex trafficking and prostitution sting operation. Mohamed Ali Selim, 38, of Lakeville, was charged Thursday in Hennepin County District Court with felony prostitution of someone he believed to be between 13 to 16 years old. Selim was arrested Tuesday and remains jailed, awaiting a first court appearance on Friday. Selim has been the principal at Eagle Ridge Middle School in Savage since July, following two years as the principal at William Byrne Elementary in Burnsville, according to the school district.”

Emily Flitter for The New York Times reports, “Joe Bruno, a former executive in the wealth management division of Wells Fargo, had long been troubled by the way his unit handled certain job interviews.… Mr. Bruno is one of seven current and former Wells Fargo employees who said that they were instructed by their direct bosses or human resources managers in the bank’s wealth management unit to interview ‘diverse’ candidates — even though the decision had already been made to give the job to another candidate. Five others said they were aware of the practice, or helped to arrange it.”

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