Faribault County taxpayers may never know the cost of prosecuting cases associated with the assault of a Blue Earth Area football player.
County Attorney Kathryn Karjala says the conviction of four teens and a person charged with perjury involves more than legal costs.
“Faribault County is not required to create data to respond to a data request and is declining to provide an estimate,” says Karjala. “This number is difficult if not impossible to calculate.”
When four football players were arrested and charged with the beating of a teammate in October 2017, Karjala hired former assistant County Attorney LaMar Piper to handle the cases.
County commissioners have been had pressed to get any information from Karjala.
So, commissioner John Roper decided to see if he could get an answer from County Auditor/treasurer Darren Esser.
“Two or three months ago I did some checking and was told the cost so far was about $110,000,” says Roper. “The county attorney’s budget has been supplemented from the general fund.”
Through September 2020, Piper has been paid more than $116,000 for his services, that also includes any postage and lodging expenses.
Karjala says her office also prepared for a jury trial for one of the four defendants only to have a plea agreement cancel it. And, she says there also were trial costs for the person who was convicted of perjury.
Legal costs are expected to keep increasing because two mothers of teens convicted have each been charged with felony counts of aiding an offender; aiding an offender obstructing an investigation; conspiracy to aid an offender; and conspiracy to obstruct an investigation or prosecution.
In addition, the county attorney’s office will have to go before the Minnesota Court of Appeals to make arguments on why the perjury conviction should not be overturned.