The Hennepin County Board cleared the way Tuesday for County Attorney Mary Moriarty to hire a team of former federal prosecutors to take over the murder case against state trooper Ryan Londregan.

Moriarty announced Monday her plans to deputize four lawyers as special assistant Hennepin County attorneys to lead the case against Londregan, who fatally shot motorist Ricky Cobb II last summer during a traffic stop. The move comes amid a legal team shake-up; the assistant county attorney who was leading the case recently walked away from prosecuting the trooper.

During the board's regular meeting Tuesday, Moriarty told commissioners she needed to bring in lawyers from the Washington D.C.-based international law firm Steptoe LLP because there are not enough experienced attorneys in her office to handle the Londregan prosecution along with the typical load of other criminal cases.

"We are down 10 lawyers," Moriarty said. "It is a small group of people who can handle these types of cases. We just don't have the resources right now."

Moriarty has faced ongoing questions and criticism about the merits of the case and whether there is enough evidence for the murder, manslaughter and assault charges she brought against Londregan.

Brian Peters, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, wrote to commissioners last week, urging them to probe why no one in Moriarty's office wanted the case. He said Moriarty is biased against police and that someone independent of her office "of unquestioned ethics" should take over the case to decide if it will proceed.

After the County Board voted 5-1 to give Moriarty the authority she needed to hire the new high-profile legal team, Londregan's attorney Chris Madel said it wouldn't change his defense strategy.

"They can hire 100 D.C. lawyers, they can hire 1,000 D.C. lawyers — the result is going to be the same," Madel said.

Kevin Anderson was the only commissioner to vote against Moriarty's request, saying he didn't feel it aligned with a previous, long-standing county policy about hiring outside counsel. That policy, in place since the early 1990s, says the county attorney needs to detail the special expertise outside attorneys bring to a case.

The framework approved by the board stipulates that Moriarty inform county leaders when she hires outside lawyers for criminal cases and give updates on costs at least twice a year.

The County Attorney has a staff of more than 500 people and a budget of $78 million for 2024. It is unclear how much it will cost to hire the outside legal team, but it has to come from the office's approved budget. Moriarty's office didn't provide a copy of the contract.

Ongoing cost was a concern for Commissioner Jeffrey Lunde, who said it would be hard for the board to stop funding the case if costs get out of hand.

"What is the burn rate?" Lunde asked Moriarty, who did not provide a direct answer. "I think it will be very difficult for us to pull back. Once we are in, we are in. That is where my concern is."

It is not unprecedented for outside prosecutors to be brought in to handle high-profile cases. Attorney General Keith Ellison had an outside counsel who worked pro bono to prosecute Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office hired one outside lawyer to assist with prosecuting St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez in the killing of motorist Philando Castile. The ex-officer was acquitted of manslaughter.

Moriarty maintained she would have complete control over the case.

"The contract says I have final say. I will never give that up. I'm accountable to the voters in Hennepin County," she said.

The four attorneys Moriarty plans to hire are Michael R. Bromwich, Steven Levin, Karima Maloney and Ryan Poscablo.

Bromwich works with police departments around country on use of force issues and recently led an investigation of the largest corruption scandal in the history of the Baltimore police. Levin successfully prosecuted a former Baltimore police commissioner on public corruption charges and represented police officers in misconduct and murder cases.

Maloney previously served as the deputy chief of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division's criminal section. Poscablo spent six years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York prosecuting violent and organized crime.