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Judge denies new trial in synthetic drug case

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DULUTH — The owner of a Duluth business and two employees found guilty of selling synthetic drugs have been denied motions for acquittal and new trials in an order issued Tuesday by Judge David Doty.

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Doty said the “evidence at trial well supported the verdict,” in denying the motion filed for Last Place on Earth shop owner Jim Carlson and two of his employees — girlfriend Lava Haugen and son Joseph Gellerman.

The judge rejected defense claims that he made errors in the jury instructions and improperly prevented the defense from introducing evidence.

Last week, Carlson’s attorney, Randall Tigue, said Carlson will seek relief in an appeals court.

Carlson was found guilty in October on 51 counts for sales of synthetic products at his downtown Duluth store. He awaits sentencing in the Sherburne County Jail in Elk River.

Haugen was found guilty on four counts, and Gellerman on two misdemeanor counts. They were allowed to post bail.

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