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Grand jury to be convened in Crow Wing County next week

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd Dispatch
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Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

A grand jury will be convened in Crow Wing County Tuesday through Thursday. 

Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan on Tuesday confirmed a petition to convene the grand jury was filed. 

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However, Ryan is prohibited by law from saying what the grand jury is being called to consider. By law, what transpires in the grand jury chamber is kept secret.

Grand juries, made up of 16 to 23 citizens from a pool of people selected each year, examine issues and conduct investigations. Grand juries have the authority to hand down indictments. 

In Minnesota, a first-degree murder charge with a life sentence may only come from a grand jury indictment. Election law issues may also be brought to the grand jury. A prosecutor may present factual information to see if there is enough to justify proceeding forward with an indictment in a bank robbery, for instance.

Grand juries may consider or investigate any number of issues simultaneously or look at different issues one at a time.

Nothing is recorded in the grand jury and no other disclosures are made after its deliberation other than whether an indictment is handed down or a no bill, meaning no indictment. 

Once an indictment is handed down that becomes public information. 

It was learned that a subpoena was served to Monty Jensen, the county resident who requested an investigation following an alleged voter fraud incident in 2010. 

In the fall of 2010, Jensen said he was at the courthouse when residents of a group home, who were accompanied by staff members, were voting. At the time, Jensen said what he witnessed crossed the line of proper voter assistance and amounted to the manipulation and undue influence of vulnerable adults.

By law, individuals with mental health issues are allowed to vote and have someone assist them if necessary unless a judge has taken away that right or the person has been declared incompetent.

It’s unknown how many witnesses may have been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury or how many issues may be considered during the two days. Jensen said the only issue he’s been involved with in the area has revolved around the voter fraud issue. 

Jensen said the subpoena only stated he was a witness in a grand jury investigation and he was to arrive at 9 a.m. Tuesday. 

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5852.

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