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Mary Moriarty, former chief public defender, is running for Hennepin County Attorney

Current county attorney Mike Freeman isn't seeking re-election.

Former chief Hennepin County Public Defender Mary Moriarty is running for Hennepin County Attorney next year. 

Moriarty, 57, on Monday announced her candidacy, saying: "I have met with countless community leaders and advocates over the past few months. Through those conversations, it has become clear to me that trust in the Hennepin County Attorney has eroded."

She says she'll work tirelessly to restore trust through transparency, accountability, and accessibility to the community. 

Moriarty will be running to replace Mike Freeman, who said earlier this month after 24 at the helm of the state's largest public law office he wouldn't be seeking re-election when his term expires in 2022.

"The Hennepin County Attorney's Office could be a powerful partner to lead transformational reform in the criminal legal system, but we need a leader who has the experience, vision, and courage to create meaningful and lasting change," Moriarty said Monday. She has been a loud critic of Freeman. 

She added, "I believe I can be that leader on behalf of all Hennepin residents. I look forward to earning your support in the coming months."

If Moriarty's name sounds familiar, she tweeted throughout Derek Chauvin's trial providing context, insight and explanations of the legal process.

She grew up near New Ulm, Minnesota, and then attended Macalester College and got her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1989. She went to work as an assistant Hennepin County public defender straight out of college. 

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Moriarty, who has been an advocate for racial justice, became the first woman to serve as the county's chief public defender in 2014 and in September 2020, her contract wasn't renewed due to her not getting along with "justice partners," including Freeman, her website explains.

She says prosecutors should play a role in police accountability and she supports reforming the bail system and curtailing pretextual stops. Here is her campaign website

Recently, she was critical of Freeman's office for bringing a prosecution for attempted murder against Jaleel Stallings, who returned fire after he was shot at with plastic bullets by police from an unmarked van during last year's civil unrest, with the court case finding that city police gave false and misleading statements about what happened that did not match what happened in police bodycam videos.

Instead, she argued that the officers who fired at Stallings should instead have been charged with excessive force.

The election is on Nov. 8, 2022. 

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