Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty is asking a judge to temporarily restrict the public's access to court motions and exhibits in the deadly-force case against State Trooper Ryan Londregan.
Normally, these court documents become available to the public promptly after being filed. Citing the need to "prevent confidential, inadmissible, or prejudicial information from improperly being made public," the motion filed by Moriarty's office Friday asks a judge to seal these filings for two business days so attorneys can review them first.
"We are concerned the initial pretrial publicity initiated by the defense will impact the ability for Mr. Londregan to receive a fair trial, if it continues," Hennepin County Attorney spokesman Nicholas Kimball said. "That's why we are suggesting the court temporarily restrict public access to filings to allow for a quick review and to ensure any future filings do not cause additional unnecessarily prejudicial pretrial publicity."
Chris Madel, Londregan's attorney, said, "We intend to oppose this motion in court."
Londregan is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, first-degree assault and second-degree manslaughter in the July 31 shooting of Ricky Cobb II. Madel has called Londregan a "hero" who is "100% innocent."
Motions and exhibits are monitored by the public and journalists to track the behind-the-scenes arguments and other information that can be pivotal to criminal cases, including what evidence and testimony may be admitted in a trial. Attorneys routinely seek to seal documents containing confidential information on a case-by-case basis.
Acknowledging the public's right to access court documents, Moriarty's motion says a "screening period" would allow attorneys on both sides to make sure the filings don't include private information. If all parties agree, the documents could be released sooner, according to the motion.
The attorneys will argue the motion at a hearing scheduled for Feb. 16.