Twin Cities lawyer faces drug charge

  • Article by: JIM ADAMS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 6, 2007 - 7:06 PM

The prominent Scott County attorney who specializes in DWI cases says he was framed by his former wife.

A prominent Twin Cities defense attorney who has been charged with felony drug possession said Friday that he was framed by his former wife, who was trying to get even over several domestic disputes.

Sam McCloud, 64, who specializes in DWI cases, was arrested Wednesday after he picked up a package containing 90 hydrocodone pills at the Shakopee post office.

He was arrested at his law office a block away and was charged Thursday in Scott County District Court with third-degree drug possession. He was also charged with two petty misdemeanors after authorities said they found marijuana and a drug pipe in his home.

McCloud, who was released from jail Thursday, said in an interview that he had a drug test done immediately after his arrest to show he had no trace of drugs in his body. He said the sting was set up with false information from his ex-wife, Kerri M. Petterson, who had the illicit drugs mailed to his post office box.

He said Petterson is upset that he remarried last month and gained custody of their daughter. "I don't do drugs," he said. "She is behind the whole thing."

Petterson, 34, did not return calls.

The charges allege Petterson contacted police with information that led to the arrest. She told police that she used illegal drugs provided by McCloud in his home near Shakopee this year. McCloud denied that, saying they have been divorced about two years and he has an order for protection against her.

Asked about McCloud's claim that his ex-wife framed him, County Attorney Patrick Ciliberto replied, "This office believes that criminal matters should be tried in court and not in the media." He said the investigation is continuing.

The complaint said after McCloud's arrest, police searched his home and found empty prescription bottles for him and Petterson and a credit card bill bearing the name of a man who Petterson said mailed illegal drugs to McCloud from Ventura, Calif. Also found in a safe were 33 grams of marijuana, a metal marijuana pipe and a digital scale, the complaint said.

Scott County court records show McCloud had a domestic assault conviction in 2003 and pleaded to two gross misdemeanor convictions in April 2006 for fifth-degree assault, for which he is on probation.

McCloud said Petterson also was angry because he helped with her civil commitment in June in Hennepin County for drug treatment.

Hennepin County mental health division court records show Petterson was committed June 29 for chemical dependency treatment. A court referee found that she excessively used street drugs and her prescribed hydrocodone -- a painkiller -- and had also tested positive for methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana.

Jim Adams • 612-673-7658

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