Judge slaps down Moriarty attempt to block access to records in Londregan case

Londregan's attorney said Moriarty wants to conceal the "weakness" of her case.

The body camera videos show Cobb put his hand on the gear shift as the troopers opened the doors to his car. (BCA)

A judge rejected two motions Wednesday brought by Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty in her case against State Trooper Ryan Londregan. Designed to temporarily block the public from accessing vital information about the case, the motions were rejected by Judge Tamara Garcia in a blow to Moriarty.

“The Minnesota and United States Supreme Courts recognize a First Amendment right of access to court records in criminal cases,” wrote Judge Garcia in her decision. “The State’s motion to temporarily restrict public access to court records … is DENIED.”

Londregan, 27, is a Minnesota State Trooper who has been charged with three felonies stemming from a July 2023 incident in which he shot and killed Ricky Cobb, a convicted felon who allegedly had ties to a Minneapolis gang. In January, Moriarty announced that her office would file charges against Londregan.

Currently, Londregan is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, first-degree assault, and second-degree manslaughter.

On Feb. 9, 2024, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office filed two motions in the case: one to subject discovery material to a protective order, and the other to “temporarily restrict public access to court records” in the case for a period of two business days per filing.

In the motion to restrict access to court records, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office (HCAO) claimed its objective was “to prevent confidential, inadmissible, or prejudicial information from improperly being made public.” In short, the HCAO tried to persuade the judge that “prejudicial pretrial publicity” or media attention surrounding the case may unfairly influence potential jurors.

“After the State’s multiple attempts to publish its own narrative and refusal to produce any discovery to the defense, the State now demands this Court issue extraordinary orders forbidding the defense from revealing that the State’s evidence does not support the State’s public narrative. Make no mistake: the State’s motions are designed to conceal the weakness of its case. As is demonstrated below, the State seeks to restrict public access to all filings to shield the Hennepin County Attorney from public criticism and to artificially preserve the State’s rapidly disintegrating narrative,” Londregan’s attorney, Chris Madel, wrote in response to Moriarty’s motions.

Among those in attendance at Sunday night’s vigil for three fallen Burnsville first responders was Minnesota State Trooper Ryan Londregan. (Alpha News)

While Judge Garcia acknowledged that the Londregan case has received media attention, the judge also said “this case has not saturated the public sphere.” Furthermore, Judge Garcia stated, “even if some inadmissible or prejudicial evidence becomes public, it is unlikely to be so pervasive as to prevent the Court from selecting a fair and unbiased jury.”

The judge rejected the HCAO’s motion and described it as “premature and overbroad.”

The HCAO’s other motion sought to “subject all discovery in this case to a protective order.” Moriarty’s office claimed the motion was “to safeguard against the public dissemination of discovery and … to protect against actions of counsel which could adversely affect the fair administration of justice.”

However, the judge found that “the established rules governing dissemination of discovery materials sufficiently safeguard against improper use of those materials.”

Moriarty’s effort to temporarily restrict access to records in the case came after Londregan’s defense team submitted an affidavit with the court outlining the apparent threats he has faced, including from one of Cobb’s relatives. The affidavit contained several social media posts as well as doorbell camera video of someone appearing to take pictures of Londregan’s home after activists posted his address online.

According to Madel, Moriarty’s office argued that this affidavit and one other filing were submitted without a “proper purpose.” However, Madel said in court documents that the affidavit was filed with the court to demonstrate why “Londregan needed to retain possession of his firearms for defense of himself and his family” during his pretrial release.

“Given the State’s arguments, it is evident that the State intends to object to anything becoming public that shows the weakness of the State’s case or that reflect poorly on the HCAO. But the State’s case is weak, because Trooper Londregan is innocent, and this prosecution is based on distortions of the evidence … ,” Madel wrote.

Cobb shooting

On July 31, 2023, Cobb was pulled over because his taillights were out. After discovering that Cobb was wanted in Ramsey County, the responding state trooper called for backup. As such, Londregan and another trooper arrived on the scene. Cobb proceeded to reject instructions to exit his vehicle. Eventually, a state trooper opened Cobb’s door and attempted to get Cobb out of the vehicle.

However, Cobb put his vehicle in gear and attempted to drive away with the state trooper half-in the vehicle, half-outside the vehicle. Londregan, standing on the passenger side of the car at the time, drew his firearm and shot Cobb to prevent him from harming the other state trooper. Cobb died from the gunshot wound.

Earlier this year, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that vehicles can be considered “dangerous weapons” if they are driven recklessly in a manner that is “likely to cause death or great bodily harm.”

Minnesota State Trooper Ryan Londregan/Law Enforcement Labor Services

Law enforcement officers have been killed from being dragged by a vehicle.

“The law is well-established and clear: law enforcement may use reasonable force if they are confronted with death or great bodily harm,” said Imran Ali, general counsel for the Minnesota Police Officers and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA). “The State Trooper made a critical and necessary decision to use reasonable force during a dangerous and dynamic situation. Law enforcement officers die in similar situations.”

Since charges were filed against Londregan, the state trooper has seen an outpouring of public support. The Minnesota State Troopers Association, the Minnesota Police Officers and Peace Officers Association, and Law Enforcement Labor Services started a fund to support Londregan and his family in the wake of Moriarty’s charges.

Denouncing Moriarty’s charges against Londregan, MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters said, “MPPOA will vigorously defend our trooper who is unjustly charged as a result of acting in accordance with his legal responsibilities.”


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.