A Dakota County jury convicted Minnesota Supreme Court candidate Michelle MacDonald of refusing to submit to a breath test and obstructing the legal process in connection with an April 2013 traffic stop.
MacDonald was found not guilty of fourth degree driving while intoxicated, while her attorney vows to appeal both convictions. He does not contest a third conviction of speeding.
“She’s disappointed as anyone to get a verdict like this,” said MacDonald’s attorney, Stephen Grigsby. “She intends to pursue the next procedure which is an appeal on the basis of law that allows innocent people to be convicted.”
The jury convicted MacDonald after a daylong jury trial that began Tuesday and ended Wednesday. The jury deliberated for about three hours before delivering the verdicts Wednesday afternoon.
MacDonald, was endorsed by the Minnesota Republican Party at its May convention to run against incumbent Justice David Lillehaug, only to draw ire a month later when charges came to light that she was stopped for speeding, refused to exit her vehicle and did not take a breath test.
MacDonald remained steadfast, maintaining her innocence and appearing at the party’s Minnesota State Fair booth even when she was told she wasn’t welcome, and earlier this month filing a complaint against the party and several members, alleging that they attempted to coerce her into renouncing her endorsement. The complaint was dismissed by an Administrative Law Judge.
Grigsby said he has nothing to do with MacDonald’s campaign and only serves as her attorney in the criminal case. He said MacDonald’s conviction on the test-refusal count is based on a legal interpretation of civil law, which leads to confusion among a jury.
“It’s like asking somebody to find a squared circle,” he said. “It’s not a fact, it’s a legal conclusion and juries only find facts.”
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 12. In the meantime, Judge Leslie Metzen ordered a psychological evaluation for MacDonald.
MacDonald did not answer a call to her cell phone, and her voice mailbox was full.