Minn. GOP Had No Idea Their Supreme Court Nominee Has DWI Case Pending

AP

Just a few days ago, the Minnesota Republican Party endorsed attorney Michelle MacDonald’s bid for a state Supreme Court seat. On Thursday, state Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey found out MacDonald has been accused of drunken driving and her case is pending.

“None of us, including the convention delegates, were aware of this information about the candidate,” Downey told The Minneapolis Star Tribune. “She, of course, is innocent until proven guilty, but at the same time, the delegates did not have the full disclosure they should have.”

The Star Tribune reported Friday that MacDonald was arrested in April 2013 on suspicion of drunken driving and resisting arrest. The 52-year-old lawyer repeatedly refused field sobriety tests, and told an officer that she hadn’t been drinking, that she was a “reserve cop” and a lawyer, and that she would walk home, according to the Star Tribune. Her case is scheduled to go to trial in September, just weeks before election day.

But MacDonald told the newspaper that the state GOP’s Judicial Election Committee was aware of the pending case, and that they had supported her when she told them her side of the story.

“When I was being interviewed [by committee members] they were saying this is a good thing because I’ve experienced what people are experiencing on a daily basis,” MacDonald told the Star Tribune. “I just never thought this would happen and I’m sucked into a system. Why am I even having to bother with a case where I’ve had zero alcohol, and why am I being asked to go to a trial where they cannot prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt?”

Downey acknowledged to the paper that MacDonald’s nomination had come forward “at the last minute,” and that the party should have done things differently.

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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com
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