Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman on Monday defended presidential hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar for the conviction of Myon Burrell in the fatal shooting of an 11-year-old girl.
The statement came as Burrell was scheduled to appear on national TV to address his prosecution in the 2002 killing of Tyesha Edwards, which has come under new scrutiny because of an Associated Press investigation and article.
Burrell was convicted in 2003 when Klobuchar served as Hennepin County attorney at the time, and again in 2008 when Freeman ran the office.
"Amy Klobuchar was not the trial attorney on the case," Freeman said in a written statement. "It should not be treated like a political football."
Burrell was 16 the first time he was convicted of murdering Edwards.
Burrell, now 33, was granted a new trial and was convicted of first-degree murder in a bench trial and was sentenced to life in prison.
The AP article raised questions about the credibility of jailhouse informants, the lack of physical evidence and apparent missteps by investigators.
It quoted a man who said he had fired shots at a rival that instead tore into Edwards' south Minneapolis home and killed the girl while she was doing homework at the dining room table.
A brief clip of Burrell's interview posted on the ABC News website showed him responding to a reporter's question about Klobuchar's culpability.
"Personally, I feel like she is the source of everything that happened," Burrell said.
Freeman said questions about Burrell's conviction should be directed at him and not Klobuchar, whom activists have called on to withdraw from the presidential campaign, because the second conviction did not involve her.
Burrell's attorneys and the Innocence Project contacted the County Attorney's Office on Friday, Freeman said, adding that his office will meet with them soon and will "promptly review any new issues."
Freeman said his office has been reviewing the case for weeks and "there is much misinformation out there."
He added that Burrell provided two alibis during the investigation and trial, and a third alibi in the AP article.
Klobuchar has said any new evidence in the case should be reviewed.