Chief Hennepin County Public Defender to resign, according to Minnesota Public Defender’s Office

Hennepin County Chief Public Defender Kassius Benson has made the decision to resign, Minnesota’s Chief Public Defender Bill Ward confirmed on Monday.

Ward said it is a “private, personal decision for Mr. Benson” and that he is “sad to see him resign.”

The resignation comes after revelations the IRS is investigating the private law firm of Benson for alleged tax fraud, according to a warrant filed in federal court in January this year.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has reached out to Benson for a comment or statement on this story and is awaiting a response. No criminal charges have been filed against Benson at this time.

The warrant states that Benson’s payroll practices “failed to report the quarterly wages and employment taxes to the IRS for all quarters for tax years 2013 and 2015-2019”. It also says that “the investigation has established probable cause to believe KBL [Kassius Benson Law] and Benson violated federal criminal laws and that evidence of said crimes will be found in the subject account.”

Court documents describe further discrepancies in the law firm’s payroll and names Benson as the “sole shareholder” of the company.

Benson started as Hennepin County’s Public Defender in January 2021, according to his private law firm website.

In an email, Ward noted that Benson had “accomplished a great deal in his short time as Chief Public Defender in Hennepin County/4th Judicial District,” including “increased the diversity of our staff, and increased diversity in our management ranks.”