St. Paul won't charge state legislator
- Article by: PAT PHEIFER
- Star Tribune
- December 9, 2010 - 10:03 PM
Charges won't be filed against a veteran Republican legislator seen with a loaded firearm in the parking lot of the St. Paul office of Planned Parenthood, the city's attorney said.
It was later learned that Rep. Tom Hackbarth had not been completely honest with police when they questioned him about the incident, said City Attorney Sara Grewing.
"It's extremely disappointing that he was less than clear with the St. Paul Police Department," Grewing said. "But as far as his actions, they don't rise to the level of a crime we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt."
St. Paul police stopped Hackbarth, 58, of Cedar, on Nov. 16, two weeks after he easily won reelection. Hackbarth told police he had met a woman via an Internet dating service. He said that he suspected she was seeing another man and that he was in the area to investigate. He also said he was going through a divorce, had a gun permit and always carried the gun.
Hackbarth, who was not arrested but was briefly handcuffed, told police he did not know that he had parked in a Planned Parenthood lot, where a security guard saw him with the gun.
On Dec. 1, however, police were contacted by an anonymous tipster who said that Hackbarth, a 16-year House veteran, was being untruthful when he provided the name of the woman he was following. The tipster provided a different woman's name. Police contacted that woman, who said she knew Hackbarth but did not know why he was in the area that evening. She said that she didn't want to pursue a case against him.
The case was turned over to the city attorney's office for possible charges on Dec. 2.
The incident cost Hackbarth a leadership post in the House. He resigned as chairman of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee when the incident came to light. Republicans appointed Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, to replace Hackbarth on the committee.
It is unclear whether Hackbarth will face an ethics probe in the House.
Pat Pheifer • 612-741-4992
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