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Michelle MacDonald and Bobby Joe Champion
Michelle MacDonald and Bobby Joe Champion

Bar Buzz: MacDonald faces March 2 disciplinary hearing

The Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing to consider the latest discipline matter involving lawyer Michelle MacDonald, a perennial candidate for a seat on that same court.

A virtual hearing for In re Petition for Disciplinary Action against Michelle Lowney MacDonald is schedule for 9 a.m. on March 2.

She will be represented at the hearing by Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, who also is an attorney. In December, he replaced Paul Engh as counsel in the case. Engh represented MacDonald when the case was heard by a Supreme Court referee last fall.

The complaint against MacDonald involves three charges:

  • That in a 2018 WCCO Radio interview, she repeated past misconduct by again making false statements and impugning the integrity of the District Court Judge David L. Knutson.
  • That she filed a frivolous defamation lawsuit against writer Michael Brodkorb and his website.
  • That she charged a client unreasonable fees and failed to get the client’s consent on a fee-splitting arrangement with another attorney.

The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility last March petition for renewed discipline against MacDonald just days before she completed a previous two-year probation for making false and impugning statements against Knutson.

She had also served a 60-day suspension for those infractions. After hearing testimony over eight-hours about the new charges on Sept. 16, Referee Anne McKinsey recommended probation without a suspension.

The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility argued for a 90-day suspension, with a requirement that MacDonald submit to a reinstatement hearing before being allowed to practice again.

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About Kevin Featherly

Kevin Featherly, who joined BridgeTower Media in mid-2016, is a journalist and former freelance writer who has covered politics, law, business, technology and popular culture for publications and websites in the Twin Cities and nationally since the mid-1990s.

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