Assistant Hennepin County attorney and former DFL legislator Jim Farrell has pleaded guilty and will have to serve 24 hours of community service and behave on probation for a year because of a misdemeanor conviction for a road-rage incident last year.
He had been charged with impersonating an officer, but he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, also a misdemeanor.
"It was something he wanted to settle quietly and move forward," his lawyer Brian Marsden said Wednesday.
The complaint said Farrell admitted pushing his prosecutor's badge into the face of a female driver and saying, "What do you think of me now (expletive)? What do you think of me now?" Asked if Farrell addressed the court during when he changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced May 6, Marsden said he didn't say much. Although he works in the building, Farrell didn't attend a previous hearing in which Marsden entered a not guilty plea on his behalf in front of Stevens County Judge Gerald Seibel. The judge heard the case because Farrell works in Hennepin County prosecuting violent crimes in front of judges there.
"He was greatly embarrassed," Marsden said. "Now you're going to write another article that will embarrass him further."
Seibel also required that Farrell write an apology to the female driver involved in the incident. Marsden said Wednesday the letter has not been written.
In January, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Farrell, 49, of Oakdale, reported the incident to him, served a two-week unpaid suspension in December and apologized to the woman. Freeman also said Farrell surrendered his county attorney badge and signed a last-chance agreement, meaning he will lose his $114,984-a-year job if he has another incident.
The incident occurred on Nov. 6 shortly before 10 a.m.
According to the complaint:
A woman called the State Patrol claiming that a man had displayed a badge to her after a "traffic altercation" near Interstate 35W and Stinson Boulevard in northeast Minneapolis. The woman said a black SUV approached her from behind at a high speed, then made a sudden lane change very close to her vehicle. The woman said she honked at the SUV driver, who then slowed down and allowed her to pass.
The SUV driver then pulled behind the woman's car, pulled out a badge and pointed to the road's shoulder indicating he wanted her to pull over, the complaint said. The woman said she didn't see any red lights but pulled over because she believed the driver was a police officer, the complaint said.
Farrell then got out of his SUV and walked up to the woman's car, shoved his badge in her face and made the comments. The woman said she called 911 as he went back to his SUV and left in an "aggressive manner."She wrote down the license plate number of the vehicle, which is registered to Farrell.
When contacted by a trooper, Farrell admitted directing the woman to pull over and pushing the badge near her face. "The defendant advised that he knew what he did was wrong and that it should never have taken place," the complaint said.
A Bloomington prosecutor who doesn't work for Freeman handled the case. She didn't return a call Wednesday.
Farrell is a former DFL state representative from the East Side of St. Paul. For nine years until August 2008, he was the executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association. Freeman hired Farrell in November 2008.
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747