Sen. Nicole Mitchell: ‘I do not intend to resign’ over burglary charge

Sen. Nicole Mitchell: ‘I do not intend to resign’ over burglary charge

Sen. Nicole Mitchell: ‘I do not intend to resign’ over burglary charge

A DFL state senator charged with burglarizing her stepmother’s home said in a new statement Thursday that she doesn’t intend to resign, resisting calls from some of her Republican colleagues in recent days.

Sen. Nicole Mitchell, of Woodbury, was arrested in Detroit Lakes early Monday morning and charged with burglary the following day. She was granted conditional release and then posted a message to Facebook, saying she was concerned about a family member and went to the home “to check on that family member,” adding that she denies stealing and believes it’s a private matter.

While charging documents note that it was her stepmother’s home and she told police she just wanted to retrieve some items belonging to her father, who recently died, they make no mention of Mitchell citing any medical concerns. She was also dressed entirely in black and using a flashlight covered by a sock.

On Wednesday, Republican senators filed an ethics complaint against Mitchell and called for an expedited process to determine possible punishments, possibly including expulsion, for her. Some of Mitchell’s DFL colleagues said she deserves due process.

“While I cannot elaborate more at the advice of counsel, I can say I am extremely disappointed that the complaint lacks the complete information of the incident including important context, including that I have known the other person involved in this incident since I was four and care deeply about her,” Mitchell said in a statement released by her attorneys on Thursday.

“It saddens me that some people are attempting to use a tragic family situation to score political points, and I am grateful to those who believe, as I always have, that everyone should be allowed the due process guaranteed in our Constitution. I am confident that a much different picture will emerge when all of the facts are known,” she added.

Mitchell’s attorneys also said in a brief statement that “there is effectively no actual evidence that has yet been made public” and added that it’s “irresponsible to make hasty conclusions.”

Attorney Bruce Ringstrom told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he urged Mitchell to not resign.

“But from this point on, my advice to her is that say nothing, do your job and let us go to work,” he said.

“She should not make any changes in anything she’s doing,” he added. “The only thing she should do is not talk to anybody about this except for her caucus and her leadership in the Senate.”

She hasn’t yet returned to the Capitol, with the end of the regular legislative session ending May 20.

Her next court hearing is set for June 10.

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, confirmed the Senate Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct is moving forward with the ethics complaint against Mitchell and will set a hearing date within the next 30 days.

“That hearing is the proper venue for the resolution of this matter,” Murphy said. “Outside of that process, we look forward to continuing the important work of passing legislation that improves the lives of the people of Minnesota.”

Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, said in a statement that his caucus is “ready to do whatever it takes to review the facts and come to a conclusion as soon as possible.”

“Moving expeditiously with a hearing and a determination ensures the Senate maintains the highest levels of integrity in its service to Minnesotans,” he added.

When asked if he’d call for Mitchell to resign, Governor Tim Walz said he wants more information.

“First of all, it’s a troubling situation, I guess heartbreaking for a family, but also some very serious questions,” he said. “I think these answers need to be provided very quickly here and I’ve always felt there’s a strong responsibility that elected officials are held to a high standard.”

A transcript of the 911 call from this incident can be viewed below: