Three finalists for Hennepin County chief public defender have been selected for interviews next month.

The Minnesota Board of Public Defense announced the finalists Thursday: Kassius Benson, Lindsay Siolka and Shawn Webb.

One of them will replace Hennepin County Chief Public Defender Mary Moriarty, whose reappointment the board voted against in September after an investigation led to Moriarty's discipline for social media activity and her inability to work with others, among other concerns.

Moriarty, who reapplied for the job, said she's focused on guiding her staff through the rest of her term, which expires at the end of the year, as COVID-19 upends court operations.

Moriarty remains a county employee and could return to the office as a line attorney, but said she hasn't decided what she'll do next. Regarding her discipline and the board's treatment of her this year, Moriarty said she is looking at "all of my options, including legal actions."

The board of public defense is scheduled to interview the three finalists at a Dec. 8 meeting and then select the next chief.

Benson was a Hennepin County public defender and now works in private practice. Siolka and Webb are attorneys with the Hennepin County Public Defender's Office and also serve as line supervisors.

"They're all talented public defenders," Moriarty said of the finalists.

Ten people applied for the four-year post, which pays an annual salary of $140,317 to $161,398.

Chao Xiong