Ethics hearing for Minnesota senator accused of burglary deferred

MINNEAPOLIS - The legislative session may be over, but the drama of its members continues on.

The Minnesota Senate Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct delayed action on the ethics complaint against state Sen. Nicole Mitchell, Woodbury-D, on Wednesday after the alleged felony burglary of her late father's ashes from her stepmother.

The committee met in St. Paul and agreed to hold off further action on the complaint against Mitchell until further developments in the case are released. Mitchell has a court hearing scheduled for July 1.

Mitchell's lawyer, Bruce Ringstrom Jr., told the four-person committee that his client's case won't be resolved for several months.

Minnesota State Senator Nicole Mitchel, D-District 47
Minnesota State Senator Nicole Mitchel, D-District 47

Since she was removed from her committees in April, top Minnesota Democrats, including Gov. Tim Walz, D, and DFL Party Chairperson Ken Martin, have called for the 49-year-old's resignation.

Mitchell has refused to resign her seat.

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What does the Minnesota Senate ethics complaint say?

The Minnesota Senate ethics complaint alleges Mitchell violated Senate rules by illegally entering the home of her stepmother and attempting to steal. It also alleges that she tried to cover up the incident through the media by spreading misleading information.

Following her release from Becker County Jail, Mitchell posted on Facebook.

"Over the weekend, I learned of medical information which caused me grave concern and prompted me to check on that family member. I entered a home I have come and gone from countless times in the past 20 years, where my son even once had his own room. Unfortunately, I startled this close relative, exacerbating paranoia, and I was accused of stealing, which I absolutely deny," Mitchell wrote in the post.

The complaint alleges this information contradicts documented events detailed in the criminal complaint.

"As outlined in the criminal complaint, Senator Mitchell's actions not only represent a felonious violation of state law, but they also clearly betray the public trust and bring the Senate into dishonor and dispute," the ethics complaint said.

Why was Nicole Mitchell arrested?

In April, Mitchell was arrested after being found one morning in her 74-year-old stepmother's Detroit Lakes home, wearing all black, according to the criminal complaint.

The criminal complaint said Mitchell told officers that she was there to pick up her father's ashes as well as other personal belongings. She also said she left her home in Woodbury around 1 a.m. to drive to the house, where she entered through the window. The complaint said Mitchell was not speaking with this family member at the moment.

"I was just trying to get a couple of my dad's things because you wouldn't talk to me anymore," Mitchell told the victim, according to the complaint.

Mitchell was charged with first-degree burglary.

The subcommittee is set to meet again on July 25 to address the complaint, hoping that new information will be available to assess.

Sam Woodward is the Minnesota elections reporting fellow for USA Today. You can reach her at, on X @woodyreports, or on Threads @samjowoody

This article originally appeared on St. Cloud Times: Senate delays Minnesota Sen. Nicole Mitchell burglary ethics complaint