County board vote allows Moriarty to hire outside counsel in Londregan case

"The largest prosecution office in the state has no prosecutors ethically willing to handle the Mr. Londregan matter," MPPOA general counsel Imran Ali said in response.

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty addresses the board during a Tuesday meeting. (Hennepin County)

County commissioners voted to give Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty the ability to “approve and sign” outside counsel to assist in her case against Minnesota State Trooper Ryan Londregan. Tuesday’s vote is the most recent development in the ongoing legal saga involving Moriarty and Londregan.

In January, Moriarty charged Trooper Londregan with three felonies, including second-degree unintentional murder, after a July 2023 incident that resulted in the death of Ricky Cobb II. On Monday, Moriarty’s office announced it is bringing in a team of former federal prosecutors from the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Steptoe LLP to assist with the case. This turn of events came after a lead prosecutor in Moriarty’s office reportedly asked to be removed from case.

In a recent press release, Moriarty’s office said the funds used to pay for the outside counsel will come from the existing Hennepin County Attorney budget but did not provide a dollar amount.

The Londregan case has generated significant media coverage and controversy. Public officials and Minnesota citizens have strongly criticized how Moriarty has handled the case. Much of the controversy has surrounded Moriarty’s decision to pursue charges against Londregan despite objections from law enforcement experts who say the state trooper acted in accordance with his training, protected his partner, and did not commit a crime on the night Cobb died.

Just days ago, hundreds showed up at a Hennepin County Government Center rally to show their support for Londregan as the state trooper arrived for a court hearing.

Before Tuesday’s vote by the Hennepin County commissioners, Moriarty spoke to the board about why she wanted to bring in outside counsel. Moriarty told the board that her office’s adult prosecution division is down 10 attorneys.

“While it’s not a unique case factually, not at all, it is unique in some ways in the way it’s being litigated,” Moriarty said of the Londregan case. “We would have to pull at least three of our senior attorneys from their regular work to be handling this case alone.”

After the vote, Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) general counsel Imran Ali stated that the “largest prosecution office in the state has no prosecutors ethically willing to handle the Mr. Londregan matter.”

“Instead of seeking the competent and cost-saving assistance of the Minnesota Attorney General or one of the other 86 County Attorneys, the Hennepin County Attorney has appointed a large Washington D.C. law firm to handle this prosecution. This law firm will be financially motivated to prosecute this case at the direction of the Hennepin County Attorney, who has a long history of bias towards law enforcement,” he said. “This move illustrates how the Hennepin County Attorney will prosecute police at all costs.”

MPPOA also wrote a letter to county commissioners urging them to investigate why attorneys in Moriarty’s office can’t handle the case.

“Two Senior Assistant Hennepin County Attorneys worked on the investigation leading to
the charges of Trooper Londregan: Patrick Lofton and Joshua Larson. Neither signed the
Criminal Complaint. And as you undoubtedly know, Mr. Larson has recently extricated himself from the case, which has led to Ms. Moriarty asking you for permission to seek outside counsel,” they wrote.

“Additionally, we recently heard that Ms. Moriarty required Mr. Larson to sign an agreement whereby he would not disparage the HCAO’s prosecution of Trooper Londregan in exchange for removing him from the case.”

The Hennepin County commissioners officially delegated the power to “approve and sign outside counsel agreements and amendments for special criminal prosecutions” to Moriarty’s office in a 5-1 vote. Normally a seven member body, the board is missing one commissioner after the resignation of Chris LaTondresse. The campaign to fill the vacant seat is currently underway.


Luke Sprinkel

Luke Sprinkel previously worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives. He grew up as a Missionary Kid (MK) living in England, Thailand, Tanzania, and the Middle East. Luke graduated from Regent University in 2018.