A lawyer for the conservative website Alpha News argued in Becker County District Court on Monday for the quick release of police and dash-cam footage of the arrest of Sen. Nicole Mitchell.

James Dickey of the Upper Midwest Law Center asked Judge Gretchen Thilmony to release the recordings given the high interest in the case. "This has been a big news story, and the public does have a right to know about a sitting senator," he said in a brief hearing.

Mitchell, DFL-Woodbury, was arrested April 22 in Detroit Lakes at the home her late father shared with her stepmother. She has since been charged with first-degree burglary and faces an ethics complaint brought by Republicans in the Senate. She continued to vote through the end of the session Sunday as one of 34 DFLers with a single vote majority over the 33 Republicans.

Thilmony mentioned Mitchell's right to a fair trial and an impartial jury. "How do you respond to the concerns that viewing this video could influence a jury pool?" the judge asked Dickey.

He cited pretrial rulings in the case against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Bystander video of Chauvin's murder of George Floyd was widely circulated before his trial and conviction. Dickey said the courts have found that "prominence does not necessarily produce prejudice" with pretrial publicity.

Given that the videos of Chauvin restraining Floyd "were not sufficient to somehow create a lack of impartiality in the jury. We have far less to fear in a case like this," Dickey said.

He said the legitimacy of the Legislature's recent actions is at issue given that Mitchell's presence gave the DFL the decisive 34th vote. He said a plea deal by Mitchell in the case could come as early as next month.

Mitchell's next hearing is scheduled for June 10.

The judge, who also is hearing Mitchell's criminal case, asked Dickey whether he agreed the release of the video "would not illuminate everything that occurred on the date of the offense," and, given that, what public interest or benefit would it serve.

Dickey said he understands the video won't tell the entire story, but that it's important so the public can "make their own determinations."

Thilmony said the Mitchell case is different from Chauvin because he was a law enforcement officer.

Dickey countered that the allegations of a sitting senator committing a felony create great public interest and favor release of the video.

The lawyer also said he would be fine redacting images of the alleged victim, Mitchell's stepmother, who called the police about a break-in. He said the expectation is Thilmony would review the videos herself before releasing them.

On behalf of the city and the police department, attorney Dylan Ramstad Skoyles didn't oppose the release request. He did request that if the judge orders the release of the videos that she tailor the ruling narrowly to this "special case" so the city isn't inundated with requests for video releases.

Thilmony didn't indicate when she would rule.