Londregan lawyers say HCAO force expert believes trooper acted reasonably, prosecutors say that’s out of context

Londregan lawyers say HCAO force expert believes trooper acted reasonably, prosecutors say that’s out of context

Londregan lawyers say HCAO force expert believes trooper acted reasonably, prosecutors say that’s out of context

The pre-trial posturing continues in the case of a Minnesota trooper charged in the fatal shooting of a driver last summer.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office in January charged trooper Ryan Londregan with second-degree murder, first-degree assault and second-degree manslaughter for shooting Ricky Cobb II during a traffic stop on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis on July 31.

Court filings show prosecutors and Londregan’s defense attorneys have been at odds about access to various documents over the past several weeks, which isn’t unusual for a criminal case, especially a high-interest case. However, the latest filings over access to a use-of-force expert take it up a notch.

Londregan’s lawyers filed a memo on Monday that highlights parts of a document they obtained from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office during the discovery process, specifically, what use-of-force expert Jeffrey Noble said about the case.

Noble, a former police officer from California who served as an expert in the Derek Chauvin and Jeronimo Yanez prosecutions, reviewed the Londregan case for the attorney’s office, according to court filings.

The defense memo states that Noble told prosecutors he believes Londregan acted reasonably if he shot Cobb because he feared for his partner’s safety when Cobb started driving away. Additionally, the defense highlights other portions of the document that make it appear that Noble’s opinions conflict with the charges against Londregan.

University of St. Thomas law professor Rachel Moran said Londregan’s attorneys aren’t necessarily accusing the prosecution of withholding exculpatory evidence, but “they’re saying that’s a possibility, essentially.”

“They’re saying, ‘We want this information. We think it’s exculpatory, and we’re asking you for it and you haven’t given it to us,'” she said.

Moran says this type of legal battle is fairly common but the county attorney is under greater scrutiny because it’s a high-profile case.

“But it does seem like the state is saying, ‘You don’t necessarily have a right to this information and we want a judge to decide this.'”

Republican state lawmakers seized the opportunity and held a brief press conference Monday afternoon, calling for Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty to resign over her handling of the case.

“Jeffrey Noble, the Hennepin County Attorney Office’s handpicked expert, told them, told the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, that Trooper Londregan committed no crime,” House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring, said in a news conference Monday.

Nick Kimball, a spokesperson for the attorney’s office, quickly sent out a statement denying that Noble made any legal conclusions and accusing Londregan’s lawyers of “abusing the legal process to initiate inaccurate pretrial publicity in this case.”

“The defense has selectively quoted a partial sentence of a lengthy document provided to them in the course of the confidential discovery process. The cherry-picked sentence excludes critical facts where the expert acknowledged information he would need to fully analyze the case,” Kimball said in a prepared statement, adding that Noble also said he didn’t have a lot of key information about Londregan’s training or the state’s use-of-force laws.

The memo filed by Londregan’s defense team is part of an effort to get additional discovery documents and Noble’s deposition from the attorney’s office, but Kimball says the document cited in Monday’s filing was from “a preliminary meeting” prosecutors had with Noble.

“In every case, whether it involves a police officer or a civilian, we review every piece of evidence and then, and only then, do we make a charging decision. That is precisely what occurred here,” Kimball said. His statement goes on to accuse the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) — who earlier in the day accused Moriarty of “covering up” Noble’s belief that Londregan acted reasonably — of wanting special treatment for officers and says prosecutors “reject today’s accusations wholesale.”

Londregan’s lawyers, responding to Kimball’s statement, called Kimball’s assertions “untrue” and urged Moriarty’s office to publish the entire statement from Noble if they believe the statements were “cherrypicked.”

The next hearing in Londregan’s case is scheduled for March 21. An omnibus hearing is scheduled for April 29.