Minnesota DFLer Thompson challenging ‘authenticity’ of police reports alleging past domestic abuse, attorney says
Rebuttal comes day after Gov. Walz, other leaders call on him to resign.
ST. PAUL — State Rep. John Thompson “challenges the authenticity of the police reports that have been circulated to the press” about past domestic assault allegations against him, his attorney said Sunday, July 18, the day after the state’s top Democrats called on him to resign.
Thompson’s wife, who he’s been in a relationship with for 20 years, “does not recall and does not believe she ever made such allegations,” according to attorney Jordan Kushner, who said he spoke with both Thompson and his wife. Kushner is representing Thompson in an unrelated ongoing misdemeanor trial in Hennepin County stemming from a 2019 Thompson arrest at a Robbinsdale hospital.
Thompson, a DFLer representing St. Paul’s East Side, has been in the news since a July 4 traffic stop. He said the stop was racial profiling; St. Paul’s police chief said that was not the case and released body camera video.
Thompson presented a valid Wisconsin’s driver’s license when he was pulled over, which led to questions about him renewing his license — requiring him to be a resident of Wisconsin — last November, the same month he was elected to the Minnesota Legislature. In response, Thompson said he lives and works in St. Paul, and plans to get a Minnesota license.
Last October, when Thompson was running for the Legislature, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that Thompson had been charged with domestic assault in 2004 and 2006. They were dismissed when he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in both cases.
On Friday, FOX 9 published detailed those and other past domestic abuse allegations. On Saturday, Gov. Tim Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, along with the top House and Senate Democrats, called on Thompson to resign.
Thompson does not intend to step down, Kushner said Sunday.
“Mr. Thompson and his wife — the only person whom Mr. Thompson would have been with at the times of the incidents — categorically deny that any of the inflammatory allegations (including but not limited to choking anyone or exposing himself) ever occurred,” Kushner wrote in a statement.
The couple “worked through issues earlier in their relationship, and have a solid marriage,” his statement continued.
A look at the accusations
Thompson has been arrested, charged or named as a suspect in six domestic assault cases in Minnesota and Wisconsin between 2003 and 2011, but not convicted on a count of domestic assault, a Pioneer Press reporter found by reviewing publicly available police reports and court records.
In addition to the 2004 and 2006 cases, Thompson pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in a case stemming from a 2003 arrest in Wisconsin. Prosecutors did not charge him in two instances after police arrested him on suspicion of domestic assault, and one case against him was dismissed.
Police reports in most of the cases involved Thompson’s then-girlfriend, whom Kushner referred to on Sunday as his wife, and her teenage daughter, in one instance.
Asked what Kushner meant about challenging the authenticity of the police reports, he said, “We know that there were some incidents and one of them resulted in a disorderly conduct and the others were dismissed, but basically we think the police reports were doctored.”
Kushner said he doesn’t have proof of doctoring. He said he based his statement on what Thompson and his wife told him about the allegations being untrue. He questioned why the details in the police reports hadn’t come to light last year, when Thompson was under scrutiny.
Attorney: Thompson subject to 'smear campaign'
Thompson has been subject to a “smear campaign” since his speech during a protest in Hugo last summer, Kushner said.
“It is my understanding that the purported police reports were provided to reporters by persons associated with law enforcement groups,” he said in his statement. “… The police reports are a product of the campaign to silence an American African man who speaks out against powerful and abusive interests, and not the product of any effort to uncover truth.”
House Republicans have prepared ethics complaints they plan to file Monday if Thompson doesn’t resign the $48,250 a year post, according to the leading Republican in the House. Thompson already faces an ethics complaint over a dispute with a fellow lawmaker.
The Hugo demonstration last summer was outside then-Minneapolis police union president Bob Kroll’s home. Thompson referred to Minneapolis police responding to a call about George Floyd allegedly using a fake $20 bill, which ended with Officer Derek Chauvin killing Floyd. Protests and riots broke out afterward.
“This whole (expletive) state burned down for 20 (expletive) dollars,” Thompson said into a microphone on Kroll’s street. “You think we give a (expletive) about burning Hugo down?”
In the unrelated misdemeanor case that Thompson is on trial for in Hennepin County, he is accused of trespassing and obstructing legal process at North Memorial Health Hospital in November 2019, before he was a state representative. He has pleaded not guilty.
“I don’t know how he gets a fair trial with all this media all over the place,” Kushner said Sunday.