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Judge denies Adams motion to dismiss indictment

The judge presiding over the assault case of Detroit Lakes School Superintendent Mark Adams sided with the prosecution on Wednesday, denying a defense motion to dismiss the grand jury indictment for first- and third-degree assault.

Defense attorney Peter B. Wold of Minneapolis had argued that the indictment should be dismissed for three reasons:

There was insufficient evidence to charge Adams with two counts of felony assault; and that the facts stated in the indictment do not constitute an offense.

The grand jury was denied access to important information that would have changed the outcome of the proceedings, and the indictment should be thrown out.

"The state has failed to set forth all of the facts and elements necessary to constitute a valid indictment," and it should therefore be dismissed.

Wold based part of his argument on store receipts from a Fergus Falls ATV dealer and a Detroit Lakes retail store. The times on the receipts show that two witnesses -- of whom Adams asked directions the same day as the assault incident -- were home an hour or so earlier than they testified to before the grand jury.

Wold argued that the men skewed their testimony to discredit Adams before the grand jury.

County Attorney Joe Evans answered that it only showed that the men, who testified from memory, were off in their timing that day by an hour or so both before and after they left for Fergus Falls.

The men contend that Adams asked for directions between noon and 1 p.m., well before the 4:45 p.m. assault incident at the Mark Rothschadl farm.

Adams told the grand jury he stopped for directions much later in the afternoon, directly on his way to the farm.

Wold said their testimony, that Adams could not possibly have been there later in the afternoon because they didn't get home from Fergus Falls until after the assault occurred, hurt Adams credibility with the grand jury and helped lead to the indictment.

Evans said the key part of their testimony is that Adams showed up for directions before they left for Fergus Falls -- showing that he perhaps "preplanned" the meeting -- and it doesn't matter if they were off an hour or so each way in their timeline.

Evans provided the judge an in-depth answer for each argument for dismissal, saying that the indictment should stand and Adams should proceed to trial.

On Wednesday, District Judge Mark Hansen agreed.

"In the present case ... the evidence, which was not in possession of the county attorney ... may bring into question the credibility of some of the state's witnesses, (but) it is not sufficient to overcome the heavy burden a defendant faces to overturn an indictment," Hansen wrote in his order.

Adams trial is scheduled for March 5.