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Randy Furst

Reporter | Minneapolis
phone: 612-673-7382
Randy Furst covers the U.S. District Court in Minnesota for the Star Tribune.
Recent content from Randy Furst

Eliot Ness fought against mob, then venereal disease

My father worked for Eliot Ness. Ness was the crime-busting government agent who organized a team called the Untouchables that brought down Al Capone and…

8th Circuit ruling revives 3 lawsuits over lookups of driver's license data

Attorneys applauded the ruling, which allowed them to continue to pursue their claims in federal district court in Minneapolis.
Rights of transgender youth, adults at heart of cutting-edge legal cases

Rights of transgender youth, adults at heart of cutting-edge legal cases

From public schools to private enterprise, transgender men and women — and youth — are challenging old restrictions and forcing changes.
Ex-child soldier held in metro jails for 2 years

Ex-child soldier held in metro jails for 2 years

Nelson Kargbo, a refugee from Sierra Leone, has a rap sheet, but would face torture if deported, judge ruled.
Wilhelmina Wright's chances in Congress for federal judgeship said to be good

Wilhelmina Wright's chances in Congress for federal judgeship said to be good

Even though Congress remains hobbled by partisan paralysis, judicial observers are optimistic that the state Supreme Court justice will eventually be confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a federal judge in Minnesota.
Judge says Rogers student, suspended over tweet, can file suit

Judge says Rogers student, suspended over tweet, can file suit

Student says suspension forced him to change schools.

Texas man pleads guilty to calling in fake hostage situations in Minnesota, elsewhere

The phone call that came to the police dispatcher in Marshall, Minn., last January described a horrific situation. A man said he had taken a…
7 indicted in what authorities call Minneapolis gang war

7 indicted in what authorities call Minneapolis gang war

The defendants are active members of two street gangs known as the 10z and the 20z, which operated in south Minneapolis. They were charged in a shootout outside HCMC last year.

Legal fight erupts over Clean Water Act rules

Jurisdiction was expanded illegally, plaintiffs say.

Toyota to appeal $11 million verdict in 2006 Minnesota Camry crash

Attorneys and witnesses for Koua Fong Lee, driver of a 1996 Toyota Camry, contended that the car continued to accelerate even as he applied the brakes, and rear-ended a stopped car. The crash killed three.
Ty Hoffman, who killed former lover, pleads guilty to bank robbery

Ty Hoffman, who killed former lover, pleads guilty to bank robbery

The robbery occurred while Hoffman was on the run after fatally shooting his former domestic partner at an Arden Hills gas station.
Bankruptcy trustee 'smelled a rat,' got the goods on jeweler

Bankruptcy trustee 'smelled a rat,' got the goods on jeweler

Creditors’ attorney tracked down jewelry hidden by bankrupt store owner in a four-year investigation that crossed state lines.
Minnesota federal judges bow to ceremony with "Passing of the Bow Tie”

Minnesota federal judges bow to ceremony with "Passing of the Bow Tie”

Call it historic, call it odd, call it a bit silly. But the ascension of a new chief judge for the U.S. District Court in…
Lawyer Erick Kaardal socked with sanction for work on Indian land case

Lawyer Erick Kaardal socked with sanction for work on Indian land case

The judge called his claims in a land rights lawsuit "frivolous."
Toyota loses bid for new trial in fatal 2006 crash in St. Paul

Toyota loses bid for new trial in fatal 2006 crash in St. Paul

Judge Ann Montgomery said a federal jury had sufficient evidence to show Toyota was at fault in fatal 2006 crash.

Three indicted over kickbacks in Minnesota Guard recruiting scam

Guard members shared $2,000 bonuses with uniformed recruiters in a kickback scheme involving military enlistments.
Ruttger's Birchmont Lodge, on Lake Bemidji, celebrates 100 years

Ruttger's Birchmont Lodge, on Lake Bemidji, celebrates 100 years

Ruttger’s Birchmont Lodge combines the serenity of pine-paneled cabins on a large, gorgeous lake with proximity to Bemidji, for easy runs to that city if rustic is not your thing.
Norway settles pay discrimination case in Minnesota for $1.96M

Norway settles pay discrimination case in Minnesota for $1.96M

Facing a torrent of negative publicity over the handling of a pay equity dispute in Minnesota, the Norwegian government has settled its long-running battle with a former consular employee by agreeing to pay $1.96 million.
Mpls. police officer indicted on nine criminal counts, including perjury

Mpls. police officer indicted on nine criminal counts, including perjury

Michael Griffin, the target of lawsuits, now faces nine criminal counts over bar fights.

In post-trial wrangling, lawyer accuses Toyota of playing 'the race card'

Post-trial wrangling in the Toyota case is heating up, with a lawyer’s claim that Toyota Motor Co. played “the race card” by suggesting that an…
Minneapolis cop under investigation by federal authorities

Minneapolis cop under investigation by federal authorities

Michael Griffin, a patrol officer, has been the subject of 22 internal affairs investigations since 2007.

9 indicted in smartphone conspiracy using homeless people

Multimillion-dollar scheme used homeless people to buy smartphones using stolen IDs, charges say.

Judge tosses lawsuit, but atheists still score win over Washington County

Federal judge rules that a change in Washington County’s wedding policy meant the suit was unnecessary.
Eighth Circuit tosses out case alleging police corruption

Eighth Circuit tosses out case alleging police corruption

The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a district-court decision Monday, rejecting a suit by a Minneapolis police officer who accused the department…

How a lawyer's strategy paid off in Toyota liability trial

Toyota’s appeal of the $10.9 million judgment in the Koua Fong Lee case returns attention to a clever strategy by his attorney Bob Hilliard. In…
Ventura lawsuit over 'American Sniper' book was 'torture,' Taya Kyle writes

Ventura lawsuit over 'American Sniper' book was 'torture,' Taya Kyle writes

Widow of “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle reviews the case in her 334-page memoir.
April 28: Don't toss out $1.8M award to Ventura over American Sniper book, lawyer says

April 28: Don't toss out $1.8M award to Ventura over American Sniper book, lawyer says

Lawyer writes that author knowingly made up story.
March 11: Major media and scholars side with Taya Kyle against Jesse Ventura

March 11: Major media and scholars side with Taya Kyle against Jesse Ventura

Groups question outcome of Jesse Ventura’s federal defamation trial.

Minn. woman who stole $292,000 from vulnerable veterans gets year in prison

Patricia Winstead stole $292,000 from 24 veterans, but judge reduced sentence because she disclosed the crime.

Tweeted threats against informant in Minnesota ISIL case, officials bring federal charges

Minneapolis man, 19, is charged with tweeting threats against informant, federal officers.

Alleged ISIL recruit returning to Minnesota to face charges

Mohamed Farah waives hearing and will be flown from San Diego to Minnesota to face charges of conspiracy to go to Syria to fight.

Toyota seeks to overturn verdict; judge calls case a 'minefield'

Lawyers say $11M verdict based on ‘‘sleight of hand” in closing arguments.

Giving wife cocaine to hide not the same as selling it to her, Minnesota Supreme Court rules

Abshir Abtidon Barrow had the legal right to withdraw his guilty plea, the court said, reversing both the district court ruling that prohibited him from changing his plea and the state Court of Appeals.
Norway ordered to pay $2.1 million in legal fees

Norway ordered to pay $2.1 million in legal fees

Judgment in consulate pay dispute may be state record.
Pat Bellanger, prominent Indian activist from Minneapolis, dies

Pat Bellanger, prominent Indian activist from Minneapolis, dies

An AIM founder, the Ojibwe woman took part in pivotal protests of modern times.

SW LRT rift over Kenilworth corridor plays out in court

The feds and Met Council squared off in court against a group opposing a light-rail route through the Kenilworth corridor.

Ron Meshbesher's bathroom is flush with character

Ron Meshbesher was known for decades as one of the top criminal defense attorneys in Minnesota, the go-to lawyer if you were charged with high…

U.S. Supreme Court won't review decision that struck down Minnesota campaign law

The high court’s refusal to hear the case appears to have resolved a lawsuit brought in 2008 by Joel Brude and Ron Stoffel as well as campaign committees with which they were involved, working to defeat school bond levies.
Twin Cities could get heaviest snowfall of the winter on Sunday

Twin Cities could get heaviest snowfall of the winter on Sunday

Two days into spring, the Twin Cities is in line for 3 to 5 inches of snow starting on Sunday.
B. Todd Jones to leave the ATF; is the NFL next?

B. Todd Jones to leave the ATF; is the NFL next?

The former U.S. attorney for Minnesota won’t say if he is taking a position with the NFL.
Judge says transgender man has case he was mistreated at hospital

Judge says transgender man has case he was mistreated at hospital

A judge ruled this week that the man has built a “plausible” case that he was a victim of discrimination and mistreatment by a Fairview Southdale emergency room doctor on the basis of gender identity.

Federal court beat: Number of Hmong attorneys growing in Minnesota

Just as the face of Minnesota is changing, so is its legal community. Chances are you were unaware there are 62 licensed Hmong attorneys in…

Toyota asks judge to overturn $10.9 million verdict in fatal Camry crash

Company disputes award to Koua Fong Lee in fatal car wreck.
Throw out Ventura defamation verdict, Taya Kyle's attorney tells Appeals Court

Throw out Ventura defamation verdict, Taya Kyle's attorney tells Appeals Court

Attorney for Taya Kyle challenged the verdict for Jesse Ventura on constitutional and other grounds.

Consumer advocates, debt collectors lock horns over robocalls to cellphones

Consumer advocates and debt collectors are in a dogfight over a proposal before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow robocalls to cellphones. The proposal…
Minnesota's female lawyers, judges celebrate milestones

Minnesota's female lawyers, judges celebrate milestones

The legal profession has undergone a transformation in the past 65 years, and the advances of female lawyers will be celebrated in the lobby of the U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis at 4:30 p.m. on Monday.
Toyota, told to pay $10.9 million in car crash, wants driver to pay $4 million

Toyota, told to pay $10.9 million in car crash, wants driver to pay $4 million

The carmaker wants driver Koua Fong Lee to pay $4 million of its $10.9 million settlement.
Judge allows planned snowmobile route bordering the BWCA

Judge allows planned snowmobile route bordering the BWCA

In a decision that will reverberate through the BWCA, U.S. District Judge John Tunheim ruled Friday that a proposed snowmobile route near the Canadian border will not violate the federal Wilderness Act.

$10.9 million verdict against Toyota could rise or fall, depending on appeals

Toyota’s $10.9 million loss in a federal trial last week could grow by millions — or not. Bob Hilliard, an attorney for a St. Paul…

Appeals court says feds cannot prosecute Leech Lake Indians for poaching

Charges unwarranted for netting fish at Leech Lake.
Obituary: Arnold Ismach, Minnesota Daily adviser, Oregon journalism dean,

Obituary: Arnold Ismach, Minnesota Daily adviser, Oregon journalism dean,

At the University of Minnesota, Arnold Ismach championed the right of student journalists to make mistakes. Many of his students went on to work for…
Toyota found '60%' responsible for crash, told to pay $11 million

Toyota found '60%' responsible for crash, told to pay $11 million

The jury in the Toyota liability trial found the automaker 60 percent responsible for a 2006 crash that caused the deaths of three people and sent a St. Paul man to prison for more than two years. Toyota is ordered to pay about $11 million in damages to crash victims.

Jurors in Toyota trial can't reach verdict; judge says keep trying

The jury in the liability trial of the Toyota Motor Co. sent a note to U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery on Monday that they could not decide on a verdict.

Jury in Toyota liability trial adjourns for weekend without verdict

The federal jury in the Toyota liability trial in Minneapolis completed its second full day of deliberations Friday without reaching a verdict.The six-woman, six-man jury…

Jury asks to see video of Toyota accelerator test

Jurors resumed deliberations in case involving 2006 crash that led to three deaths and a prison term.
Startling argument made in Toyota crash trial's closing

Startling argument made in Toyota crash trial's closing

In an 11th-hour bombshell, the attorney for the driver unveiled his theory for what caused a Camry to speed up in 2006: Each time the gas pedal was pressed, the car kept on accelerating.

Federal prosecutions in Minnesota took big jump in 2014

The talk around the U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis has been that more criminal cases are showing up in federal courtrooms since Andy Luger was sworn…

Toyota not at fault, expert says, but families' lawyer says engineer is biased

Karl Stopschinski blamed fatal Camry crash on driver error, but Koua Fong Lee's attorney suggests the expert is biased.
Norway asked to pay $2.3 million in legal fees for wage-bias case

Norway asked to pay $2.3 million in legal fees for wage-bias case

A former consulate employee won a lawsuit over equal pay.
Engineer testifies that driver was at fault in fatal St. Paul crash

Engineer testifies that driver was at fault in fatal St. Paul crash

Expert witness testified about positions of brakes, gas pedal and the Camry’s velocity in the 2006 crash that killed three people.
Toyota crash ravaged two families, tearful relatives testify

Toyota crash ravaged two families, tearful relatives testify

Judge Ann Montgomery twice called brief halts in a day of emotional testimony.
Widow of 'American Sniper' author curtails interviews amid criticism

Widow of 'American Sniper' author curtails interviews amid criticism

In the wake of criticism of the movie about her late husband, Taya Kyle will limit media access before her Feb. 8 speech in St. Louis Park.

Accelerator testimony heats up Toyota trial

As attorneys clashed, Judge Ann Montgomery broke in to halt debate, rephrase questions.
Jesse Ventura's legal expenses reimbursed, but not his son's baggage fees

Jesse Ventura's legal expenses reimbursed, but not his son's baggage fees

  You can’t always get what you want, but attorneys for former Gov. Jesse Ventura got most of it when it came to reimbursement for…
April 12, 2013: Federal rent subsidies vanish for many low-income Minnesotans

April 12, 2013: Federal rent subsidies vanish for many low-income Minnesotans

Low-income people who had been told they were going to get Section 8 subsidies were surprised to learn that money’s on hold, thanks to sequestration.
Nienow, wife sued in $613,000 federal loan default

Nienow, wife sued in $613,000 federal loan default

State Sen. Sean Nienow is accused of not making payments on a $613,000 SBA loan.
Toyota attorneys seek holes in acceleration case

Toyota attorneys seek holes in acceleration case

Defense attorney says Koua Fong Lee changed his story.
Tears flow at Toyota trial as survivor's story is told

Tears flow at Toyota trial as survivor's story is told

Judge instructs jury not to consider Koua Fong Lee's prison term or Toyota's recalls of vehicles because of sudden acceleration.

Minnesotan charged in coup attempt in Gambia

A Brooklyn Park man is charged in a failed plan to overthrow the head of his West African homeland.
Speculation mounts over who will succeed Federal Judge Michael Davis

Speculation mounts over who will succeed Federal Judge Michael Davis

Deadline to submit résumés is Jan. 9. Associate Supreme Court Justice Wilhelmina Wright, above, is likely to be one of the finalists.
City of Minneapolis, 81-year-old landlord battle in court

City of Minneapolis, 81-year-old landlord battle in court

City, retired housing inspector are in court yet again over violations.
Norway violated equal-pay law, judge says

Norway violated equal-pay law, judge says

Judge finds consulate employee was unjustly paid $30,000 less than her male counterpart.

Minnesota's first federal judge kept St. Peter from becoming state capital

OK, class, who was Minnesota’s first federal judge? He was Rensselaer Nelson, and if you didn’t know, it’s not surprising. In a search of the…
U.S. Judge Michael Davis to step down and become senior judge

U.S. Judge Michael Davis to step down and become senior judge

The first black federal judge in Minnesota, Davis urges senators to continue advancing diversity’s cause.

Former employees accuse Hertz of harassment and discrimination in Minnesota lawsuit

Six former employees allege harassment and retaliatory firings over their religious practices.
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