Special prosecutor appointed in Cook County Attorney case

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A lawyer who twice led the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota has been appointed as special prosecutor to determine whether criminal charges are warranted against Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell for his relationship with a teenage girl.

The Duluth News Tribune reports former U.S. Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger, a 35-year lawyer working in private practice in Minneapolis, has been appointed special prosecutor to review the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s investigation of Scannell.

Scannell, who was shot and seriously wounded in December 2011 by a sex offender he had just prosecuted, was ordered by the court last December to stay away from the minor girl.

According to the BCA’s petition to appoint a special prosecutor to the case, the bureau has conducted an investigation of Scannell’s relationship with the girl and is ready to submit the case to a prosecuting attorney to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.

The BCA investigator assigned to the case contacted six county attorneys about their willingness to review the investigation for potential charges. All of the county attorneys declined. Hence, Heffelfinger was appointed to act as special prosecutor and perform all duties of the county attorney in relation to the Scannell case.


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