Defense Attorney: Toss out indictment against Cook County Attorney accused of sexual misconduct

By KBJR News 1

March 27, 2014 Updated Mar 27, 2014 at 6:27 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)--- The attorney representing Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell asked the court to dismiss the indictment against his client.

This is a high profile case in which Scannell stands accused of sexual misconduct involving a minor.

Scannell's attorney, Joey Tamburino, says the evidence presented to the grand jury was not sufficient for them to find probable cause to indict Scannell.

Scannell is facing two counts of fourth degree criminal sexual misconduct for an alleged inappropriate relationship with a Grand Marais girl under the age of 18.

One of the essential elements of this case is that Scannell has been said to be in a position of authority over the girl.

Tamburino argued that at the time the alleged sexual acts took place, Scannell was not in any position of authority over the girl.

He says the grand jury was confused about whether Scannell needed to be acting in his position of authority when the alleged acts took place.

Secondly, Tamburino argued that the grand jury should not have seen the restraining order the victim has taken out against Scannell.

He says the grounds for the restraining order are based on hearsay and not fact.

Prosecutor Tom Heffelfinger said what this indictment comes down to is whether the position of authority existed at the time even IF that position weren't actively being used.

Heffelfinger read from the grand jury transcript in which the victim said Scannell was an important figure in her life and it seemed like he cared about her like she was one of his children...enough to convince her that he held a position of authority in her life.

He said even if the harassment restraining order were thrown out, the victim's testimony alone would be enough probable cause to indict Scannell.

Judge Shawn Floerke has until April 11th to review the couple hundred page Grand Jury transcript and make a decision whether to dismiss the indictment.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati