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I've known Mary Moriarty for 25 years. She was willing, as a defense attorney, to walk close to the ethical line to free the suspected criminal defendant she was representing. This personal pattern became more damaging as she rose up the ranks and became chief public defender.

I observed her attempts to manipulate the narrative to avoid her impending termination in that role. While she was eventually terminated, she successfully organized an effort to repair her reputation by claiming she was fired because she supported racial justice. That tactic was effective in the political climate present in fall 2020 (although Moriarty is still prohibited from practicing as a public defender in the state of Minnesota).

As Hennepin County attorney, she has continued this pattern of obfuscation and dishonesty. On Tuesday morning, she told KSTP's Tom Hauser that no one has the "facts" of the Londregan case except for her and her team. Therefore, Gov. Tim Walz, Rep. Angie Craig and others are unqualified to speak on it. Let's take that claim at face value and examine only Moriarty's own statements about why she dropped the charges against state trooper Ryan Londregan on Sunday in the July 2023 death of Ricky Cobb II:

1) The defense raised "new evidence" (that Londregan feared for his life) at a court hearing in April. Moriarty still went forward with the $1 million contract with the Steptoe law firm after this hearing. She went in front of the County Board on May 3 to justify this contract and did not mention her new misgivings about the case after this claim. Further, the defense previously presented this evidence on Jan. 24. Moriarty appears to not be telling the whole truth.

2) The advocates for Londregan created a "Jan. 6" environment in the Hennepin County Government Center that threatened the Cobb family and Moriarty's own staff. In reality, they stood peacefully and wore T-shirts. When pressed by a reporter, Moriarty walked back this claim. Again, the claim does not hold water.

3) That Gov. Tim Walz forced her hand by declaring he was going to take the case away. This is not her public explanation, but it is what she told the Cobb family when they asked her on Monday. This explanation is likely the most truthful, in my opinion.

However, when asked why the governor would want to take this case away, she told the Star Tribune it's "because I am a queer woman in this role." Identity politics may have worked to save Moriarty's reputation in 2020 when she hurled similar claims at public defense administrators, but I don't believe the public will buy that our liberal Democratic governor is homophobic.

As Moriarty inevitably pivots her narrative again to avoid confronting her own mistakes, I would like to offer a few distinctions that could help provide moral clarity. Her problem is not her queerness, nor her progressivism, nor even her determination to do exactly what she wants all the time; it is the lack of concern for ethics, justice and honesty as fundamental values that supersede her own personal or political aims.

There is nothing wrong with holding police accountable, but you should not allow your bias against them to impact your charging decisions.

There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with Gov. Walz, but he is not homophobic.

There is nothing wrong with changing your mind about a charging decision, but you should give an honest explanation about why you did so to every audience.

Prosecutors are officers of the court. It's incumbent upon them to know the laws, follow courtroom procedures and do their best to present cases as accurately and succinctly as possible.

It appears some critical pieces were overlooked or ignored when Moriarty charged this case. But even if you agree with the decision, you cannot defend the process. Moriarty's unethical behavior damages public safety by eroding trust, emboldening violent offenders, and threatening law enforcement's ability to do their jobs and recruit good officers.

And if her bias against police was not already apparent, Moriarty refused to say the name of the police officer murdered last week in her county, Jamal Mitchell, for several days until it served her political purposes to insert into a statement about the Londregan charges.

Trooper Londregan, the Cobb family and everyone else involved in this case deserve an apology. More than anything, the citizens of Hennepin County deserve better than this former public defender with an ax to grind.

Martha Holton Dimick is a former assistant Hennepin County attorney, former deputy Minneapolis city attorney and former Fourth District judge. She was a candidate for Hennepin County attorney in 2022. She's a member of the Minneapolis DFL Senior Caucus Executive Committee and the Urban League Twin Cities board of directors and is on Hennepin County Sheriff Dawanna Witt's Community Advisory Board.