Update: Courtroom melee after man found guilty leads to new charges


Chaos erupted in a Ramsey County courtroom Tuesday afternoon after two defendants were found guilty of sex trafficking charges – and by the following afternoon, one of the defendants faced new assault charges after authorities say he spit on an attorney.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office details the incident in a complaint released Wednesday afternoon.

According to the complaint:

As soon as the guilty verdicts against Johnathan Bernard Edwards and the other defendant were read, Edwards directed an expletive toward the prosecuting attorney, "gathered saliva in his mouth," and spat at her.

The saliva struck the attorney in the head, face and neck.

Edwards was immediately tackled on top of a table by deputies.

Edwards is now charged with fourth-degree assault, intentionally transferring bodily fluids onto a prosecuting attorney.

The other defendant, Kauser Mohamoud Yusuf, who is nine months pregnant, collapsed to the ground and "began to wail," the charges say.

Details from the courtroom

Elizabeth Mohr of the Pioneer Press was the only reporter in the courtroom at the time, and she described the situation as "absolute mayhem." Click here to read her story.

Some of the spectators in the gallery began shouting obscenities at the jury and calling the verdict racist, Mohr reports. The two defendants are black.

About a dozen deputies drew their stun guns and tried to control the crowd, while court employees were escorted into the judge's chambers.

The two defendants were handcuffed and taken out of the courtroom. The spectators were ushered out of the courtroom, and according to Mohr, another scuffle erupted in the hallway after one of them shoved a sheriff's deputy.

Edwards, 25, and Yusuf, 22, were found guilty of engaging in sex trafficking a 15-year-old girl. Prosecutors said the two posted lewd photos of the girl on the classified site Backpage.com and arranged for men to have sex with her, MPR News reports.

A sentencing hearing for Edwards and Yusuf is scheduled for Feb. 27. They each face up to 20 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

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