Hennepin County prosecutor accused of anti-Somali posting on Facebook
A Somali man convicted of attempted murder is seeking a new trial because the prosecutor in his case allegedly posted derogatory comments about Somalis on her Facebook page.
Ahmed Ali’s lawyer filed a motion Tuesday seeking a hearing on several grounds including prosecutorial and juror misconduct. Early this month a jury convicted Ali of first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault in an Aug. 14, 2008, shooting that left three people wounded at the Cedar Riverside Plaza in Minneapolis.
The lawyer, Robert Lengeling, said in his motion that assistant Hennepin County attorney Gretchen Gray-Larson posted objectionable comments on Facebook during the trial.
“The posts concerned derogatory statements about people from Somalia, and that she felt comfortable with her case because of a juror who attended St. John’s University,” the motion said.
The motion, scheduled to be argued at 1:30 p.m. Monday in front of Judge Patricia Karasov, provided no additional detail about the alleged comments or the significance of the St. John’s affiliation.
Deputy County Attorney Pat Diamond would not discuss the alleged Facebook postings, but he hinted there’s another side to the story. He said the hearing on the defense motion will have “real evidence with sworn testimony … I’m confident the motion for a new trial will be denied.”
Diamond also would not say whether Gray-Larson faced discipline, but he said she had not been suspended from her job — a rumor at the courthouse. She was at work late Tuesday.
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