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Koppala attorney under fire

By Staff | Jun 8, 2014

Nearly two months after being convicted in Faribault District Court for inappropriately touching a child, the Leo Charles Koppala case is still on-going.

County attorney Troy Timmerman presented a post-sentencing motion to the court last Monday in regards to sanctions against Koppala’s defense attorney, Philip J. Elbert.

The reason for the sanctions come from a video posted on YouTube from a blogger.

“The video demonstrated that the defense council displayed substantial, if not all disclosures to the blogger,” Timmerman says. “Also, the appropriate names were not redacted. There was minimal effort to redact the victim’s first name, but no effort was made to redact the last name.”

The video also further identifies the victim’s father, according to Timmerman.

During the course of the interview between Elbert and the blogger, Timmerman believes some of the information given violates certain criminal procedures. Some information in the interview came from reports which were disclosed, according to Timmerman. The rules of criminal proceedings clearly provides that discoveries given to the attorney should remain in the attorney’s possession and be used only to conduct his or her case.

“In addition, it further violates Minnesota Statute, which requires data identifying a juvenile victim in a sexual assault case not be accessible to the public,” he says. “This is all very concerning because this case should be over. Koppala pled guilty and the victim and the family should be able to move on, but they can’t.”

Timmerman continued to say he believed the video was made in an attempt to “get” him and local law enforcement.

“The only person getting “got” is the 13-year-old victim of a sexual assault,” Timmerman explains. “It is inexcusable. Since it is online, it will always be there. The blogger clearly has his own agenda and there’s no telling where else he might post this information.”

According to Scott Cutcher, the Chief Public Defender for the Fifth Judicial District, who was at the motion hearing representing Elbert, Elbert did not know the blogger was recording the conversation and will not talk to him again.

There were three disclosed reports which were given to the blogger, according to Judge Douglas Richards.

Elberts was unaware of an additional report, which showed up on the video, with bullet mark statements at the bottom.

According to Timmerman, if Judge Richards finds Elbert to have violated the criminal procedures, the sanctions could take form in a possible financial penalty.

Judge Richards will make his final decision on the sanctions at a further date.

“I will look at potential remedies and make a decision,” he concluded.