May 9, 2017

‘This case has followed a very bizarre path’

By Jack Dura
Farmer Staff Writer

Removal proceedings for suspended McKenzie County Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger could play out until July after a hearing last week for separate motions to dismiss and amend the case’s complaint.
Special commissioner Karen Klein awaits prosecutor Michael Mahoney’s proposed amended changes to the complaint, with a response to come from defense attorney Michael Geiermann, who argued Klein should recommend the complaint’s dismissal to Gov. Doug Burgum.
“This case has followed a very bizarre path,” Klein said, addressing former prosecutor William John O’Driscoll’s withdrawal and delays in the process since November.
Due process for Schwartzenberger has been “tainted and damaged,” Geiermann said, alleging O’Driscoll’s two letters to Burgum were “absolutely inappropriate,” likening the contact to any prosecutor contacting a judge in a criminal or civil case.
“Whether he’s wrongfully involved in the process or not, you cannot recuse the governor,” Klein told Geiermann.
Burgum will make the final decision on Schwartzenberger’s removal after Klein’s recommendation.

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