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Minnesota state Sen. Nicole Mitchell removed from committees, caucus meetings amid burglary investigations

Embattled Minnesota State Sen. Nicole Mitchell returns to Capitol
Embattled Minnesota State Sen. Nicole Mitchell returns to Capitol 02:18

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Embattled Minnesota state Sen. Nicole Mitchell will be removed from her committee assignments and caucus meetings while burglary allegations against her play out in both a Senate and legal investigation, the Senate majority leader announced Sunday.

"This is a tragic situation, and there are still questions that need to be answered," Sen. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, said. "The legal investigation is ongoing, and last week, we referred her case to the Senate Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct. While the case is under review both in the Senate and in the courts, Senator Mitchell will be relieved of her committee assignments and removed from caucus meetings."     

On Monday, Mitchell proved to be the deciding vote in her own defense, defeating a GOP-led effort to strip her of her voting powers.

"We have a fundamental value at stake, that people of every Senate district are entitled to be represented," Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) said during the hours-long debate.

Mitchell, a Democrat who represents part of the eastern Twin Cities, was charged with burglary last week. She was found dressed in all black in the basement of her stepmother's home in Detroit Lakes, according to a criminal complaint. Authorities allege she confessed to breaking into the home to retrieve her father's ashes and other sentimental items after her stepmother stopped speaking to her. On social media, Mitchell denied the allegations, saying she was at the house to check on a family member with Alzheimer's. 

In another statement, she said she was "extremely disappointed that the complaint lacks the complete information of the incident including important context, for example that I have known the other person involved in this incident since I was four years old and deeply care about her."

Detroit Lakes Police Chief Steven Todd told WCCO the alleged burglary and Mitchell's arrest were caught on body cameras. He said he has seen the bodycam footage, but is prohibited from releasing it by state law.    

Senate Republicans filed an ethics complaint against Mitchell after she was charged, and some have called for her resignation, including Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks. The Ethics Subcommittee is set to meet May 7 to discuss the complaint against Mitchell.

"Members, are we really going to let a member who is accused of such a serious crime, be the deciding vote on these bills passing through this body," Sen. Karin Housley, a Republican from Stillwater, countered.

Mitchell, who has also been a TV meteorologist and a commander with the Air National Guard, was elected in 2022 and is in the midst of her first term.  

Separate from her criminal case, lawmakers in St. Paul have filed an ethics complaint against Mitchell. A committee will meet to consider the complaint on May 7.

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