County Attorney's Office Supports Noor's Bid for Stay in Civil Lawsuit

March 26, 2019 09:36 AM

The video above is from a July 23 report.

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office is asking a federal court judge to grant a request by attorneys for former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor to have a civil case filed against Noor and others stayed until after his trial on third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges has concluded. 


The request was filed in August in U.S. District Court.  The family of Justine Damond - the Australian woman killed in the July 2017 shooting - has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Noor, partner Matthew Harrity, former police chief Janee Harteau, current police chief Medaria Arradondo and the city.

RELATED: Noor Seeks Stay in Civil Lawsuit

In the lawsuit, Damond's father, John Ruszczyk, claims the defendants violated the Fourth and 14th Amendments. The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $50 million.

Noor's request for a stay stated he should not be made to defend a civil matter while at the same time facing criminal charges.

The county attorney's office weighed in Tuesday with a letter asking the judge to grant the stay "in its entirety until the state district court criminal proceeding is resolved by dismissal, a verdict of not guilty, or sentencing after a plea of guilty or guilty verdict."

The letter said a civil trial could result in a prejudiced jury pool in the criminal matter.

"One critical component of achieving integrity and fairness is to avoid any prejudice to the jury pool, which is a special concern here, given that the criminal case has garnered an exceptional amount of publicity to date," reads part of the letter. "To protect those interests, the presiding state court judge has issued a protective order that strictly restricts the dissemination of any discovery materials while the criminal case is pending ... Discovery in this case could undermine the effectiveness of the state court's protective order, particularly since the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure contemplate a much broader scope of discovery than the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure."

The letter said an omnibus hearing in the state criminal proceeding is scheduled for Sept. 27, and it's likely the state court will set a trial date at that time.


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Frank Rajkowski

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