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Minnesota public defender suspended over ‘culture of fear’

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota has suspended one of its chief public defenders following allegations that she uses inappropriate language and fosters a culture of fear.

Hennepin County’s chief public defender, Mary Moriarty, says she received a letter about her suspension Monday and doesn’t know when she’ll be back. Hennepin County includes Minneapolis. Moriarty says the allegations surprised her and that no one had previously mentioned such concerns.

Moriarty has been a public defender for decades. State Public Defender William Ward says Moriarty is on paid leave, pending a review. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison says Moriarty is one of the most principled people he knows.

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