An email purporting to be from the state GOP Judicial Election Committee was sent to delegates this week asserting its support of Minnesota Supreme Court nominee Michelle MacDonald.
The email came from an email address at MacDonald’s law firm, but MacDonald confirmed that the message was drafted by the committee and approved by MacDonald.
Doug Seaton, who was the chair of the 2014 judicial election committee, said that the email was not an official committee action and the committee itself is only an entity during the convention.
“It certainly may have come from the committee members who were listed (in the email), but it wasn’t issued from the committee itself,” Seaton said.
Seaton’s name was not among the 17 on the list. He said that he was not aware of the email until he saw a copy of it today.
The message asserts that the committee members knew about the pending DWI charge against MacDonald when she was endorsed by the GOP.
“We knew a lot about it, and we are convinced she is innocent,” the email reads.
The email asks delegates to help with MacDonald’s campaign and place her “high on the list” of candidates to promote during a get-out-the-vote phone effort in October.
In the email, the committee members assert that the committee met with MacDonald for between two hours and three hours during which she detailed what she has described as “torture” at the hands of Dakota County officials.
“Our committee concluded that Michelle’s abuse at the hands of the Dakota county judicial system makes her a “poster child,” a symbol for Minnesotans who have been abused by law enforcement, prosecutors, Judges, and other officers of the court. We voted by an overwhelming majority to recommend her nomination.”
In September 2013, MacDonald told the committee members, she was held in contempt of court after taking a photo of a deputy when she was at court for a child custody hearing. MacDonald asserts that after she was detained, she was taken back to court while handcuffed to a wheelchair, without her glasses, jewelry or shoes, among other things. After the hearing, the committee wrote, MacDonald said she spent the night in an “all-cement, solitary confinement cell” in the men’s prison with only a toilet and toilet paper. When she wrapped herself in toilet paper to try to keep warm, it was taken from her. MacDonald accused the prison staff of lowering the temperature, keeping bright lights on and keeping a small curtain open so they could observe her using the toilet.
In the email, the committee members asserted that MacDonald also said her DWI arrest violated her rights and was unlawful. MacDonald’s experiences with the legal system will make her a strong and compelling candidate, the committee members wrote.
“Michelle’s campaign focuses on reforming our Minnesota judicial system to prevent, punish, and hold accountable judicial and other abuse, and we expect that the voters of Minnesota will flock to her because many of them have also been abused by the judicial system or know of someone who has been.”