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Minnesota ethics panel postpones decision on senator accused of burglary until after upcoming court hearing

Protestors demands the resignation (Via John Cusak/Shutterstock)

A Minnesota Senate ethics group decided Tuesday night to delay taking further action on a complaint against a lawmaker charged with burglary for allegedly breaking into her stepmother’s home. The decision came until after her next court appearance.

Democratic Sen. Nicole Mitchell of Woodbury explained to police that she entered the house last month because her stepmother refused to give her sentimental items belonging to her late father, including his ashes, as stated in the felony complaint.

The ethics panel, composed of two Democrats and two Republicans, reached no agreement on how to proceed and will reconvene on June 12. Mitchell’s lawyer, Bruce Ringstrom Jr., informed the panel she might enter a plea at her upcoming June 10 court hearing, though it could be postponed.

The panel’s choice means no action will be taken before the legislative session ends on May 20.

Sen. Nicole Mitchell (Via John Cusak/Shutterstock)

“Sen. Nicole Mitchell’s actions clearly violate Senate rules and have caused distrust within the Minnesota Senate,” said Republican Sen. Eric Lucero of St. Michael to the ethics panel.

“This was a deliberate and planned action, not a spur-of-the-moment decision,” added Republican Sen. Karin Housley of Stillwater.

However, Democratic Sen. Bobby Joe Champion of Minneapolis, who chairs the panel, advised waiting until the evidence could be thoroughly examined for accuracy.

Mitchell’s situation has posed challenges for fellow Democrats, who hold a slim majority in the Senate and need her vote for bills without bipartisan support. They have excluded her from caucus meetings, removed her from committees, but have not publicly urged her to resign.

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