Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Clay to pay for Borgen's defense

The Clay County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to fund the defense of Judge Lisa Borgen, who is under investigation for her actions while prosecuting a 2004 murder conviction recently thrown out by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The Clay County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to fund the defense of Judge Lisa Borgen, who is under investigation for her actions while prosecuting a 2004 murder conviction recently thrown out by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Borgen, Clay County attorney at the time, is being investigated by the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in relation to how she handled a murder case involving Troy Demetrius Mayhorn.

Mayhorn's conviction for aiding and abetting a first-degree Moorhead murder was thrown out by the state's highest court Aug. 31.

The court cited "unprecedented" prosecutorial misconduct on Borgen's behalf, a charge she denied in a letter to commissioners asking for financial support.

"I maintain that I did nothing unethical or dishonest while I represented the citizens of Clay County during my prosecution of Mayhorn or any defendant," Borgen wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

Borgen asked for financial support to hire an attorney with experience in defending such an investigation. She said the investigation itself and costs to defend against it stem from actions taken when she was county attorney.

"I am in the best position to rebut accusations against me during the trial because I was there every day for over three weeks while I tried the case," she wrote. "I am not, however, versed in the process of defending against this type of investigation."

County Administrator Vijay Sethi said the county will cover Borgen's defense costs from start to finish. He is unsure how much that could be.

"Really at this point in time, nobody has a clear handle on exactly how long the process will go on and what the steps might be," Sethi said.

He said the county has paid for legal defenses of employees in the past, although he could not recall one for a county attorney.

Mike McCarthy, commission chairman, said "it was only right that the county pay to retain counsel" for Borgen because she was employed by the county when the trial took place.

Current Clay County Attorney Ken Kohler did not return a message Tuesday seeking comment.

Borgen served as Clay County attorney from 1999 until her appointment to 7th Judicial District judgeship in January. This is the first investigation into her as an attorney, Minnesota records show.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ira Whitlock, who represented Mayhorn during the 2004 trial and has said he believed the case involved "vindictive prosecution," was publicly reprimanded Aug. 10 for prosecutorial misconduct, according to a court order.

The order, written by Associate Justice Helen Meyer, who also wrote the court's decision overturning Mayhorn's conviction, fined Whitlock $900 and gave him a 90-day suspension that is suspended for two years.

Mayhorn also faces a first-degree murder charge in Cook County, Ill.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Brittany Lawonn at (701) 241-5541

What To Read Next
Host Bryan Piatt is joined by Matt Entz, head coach of the North Dakota State Bison football team, to discuss the pressures of leading the program and how mental health is addressed with his players.
Artificial intelligence can now act as an artist or a writer. Does that mean AI is ready to play doctor? Many institutions, including Mayo Clinic, believe that AI is ready to become a useful tool.
Columnist Carol Bradley Bursack lists the various reason why some older adults may begin to shuffle as they age.
The Buffalo Bills safety who suffered a cardiac arrest on Monday Night Football in January is urging people to learn how to save lives the way his was saved.