A Ramsey County jury on Friday acquitted a former KSTP-TV employee of making threats of violence against colleagues following his termination.

Rusty Arntson, 37, of Brooklyn Center, stood accused of citing the Capital Gazette newspaper shootings during a threatening phone call to the company.

“[Prosecutors] wanted, I guess, the jury to believe that he basically threatened to do what happened out in Maryland at the Gazette,” said Arntson’s attorney, John Arechigo. “He never used a weapon, never showed one, never mentioned one.”

The comment was “made in the heat of the moment out of anger and did not convey a threat that he was actually going to do something.”

After a three-day trial, jurors deliberated less than three hours before finding him not guilty Friday afternoon.

“We certainly are disappointed by their verdict and wish it turned out differently,” said Dennis Gerhardstein, spokesman for the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office.

Arntson was fired from the St. Paul media company in 2017 shortly after a “confrontation with a female co-worker who he blamed for causing him to have a previous suspension,” court records show.

KSTP did not immediately return calls for a comment.

STAFF REPORT