Former Chief Public Defender for Hennepin County arrested for DWI same weekend he resigned

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Newly-obtained court documents reveal the former chief public defender for Hennepin County was arrested on DWI charges the same weekend of his sudden resignation.

Kassius Benson was pulled over in Wayzata around 2:15 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15.

According to a citation filed earlier this month in Hennepin County, a police officer noted Benson’s eyes were bloodshot and watery. 

The citation lists his blood alcohol content at .13, nearly twice the legal limit.

Reached by text, Benson sent 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS this statement:

“My decision to resign was a difficult one. Ultimately, I chose to resign for personal reasons that had the potential to cause a distraction to the great work being done at the public defender’s office.”

Kassius Benson

In a civil petition filed last week, Benson alleges “the officer did not have reasonable suspicion” to stop and arrest him for DWI.

He was also cited for driving the wrong way down a one-way street.

Benson’s resignation became public two days after the traffic stop.

In a statement at the time, State Public Defender Bill Ward didn’t give a reason for Benson’s departure other than saying it was a “private, personal decision.”

5 INVESTIGATES has reached out to Ward for further comment.

Benson’s arraignment is scheduled in December in the Second Judicial District.

Minnesota’s Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea ordered the case be moved out of Hennepin County, where Benson served for more than a year.

The IRS is also investigating Benson’s private law firm for alleged tax fraud, according to a warrant filed in federal court in January this year.