Klobuchar Faces Uproar Over Her Role in Black Teenager’s Murder Conviction

In a statement, the Hennepin County attorney’s office said it had “been fully cooperative with The Associated Press and Myon Burrell’s defense attorneys,” adding, “Neither The Associated Press or Myon Burrell’s lawyers have shared any new evidence with us. If any new information is presented, it will carefully be reviewed by our office.”

The Minneapolis Police Department referred questions to the Hennepin County attorney’s office without comment.

In a telephone interview Friday night Daniel Guerrero, a lawyer for Mr. Burrell who has represented him since 2017, said that while he believed the authorities could have more rigorously followed up on leads and alibis, he did not think, based on his review, that Ms. Klobuchar had done “anything specifically wrong.”

“I don’t think she had much to do with the case,” he said, noting that line prosecutors had handled it. “She stepped back and let them do what they were doing.”

“The one thing I would say about Senator Klobuchar is that I wish she would stop citing the Edwards case as an example of her being aggressive prosecutor,” Mr. Guerrero added. “Though certainly tragic that an 11-year-old girl died, it’s equally as bad that a 16-year-old boy was likely wrongfully convicted and sentenced to a life term in the face of an aggressive and often short sighted prosecution.”

Mr. Guerrero said that his client had already appealed his conviction several times and that “at this point we would have to bring in evidence of actual innocence” to get the case back into court. “We’re still investigating and hoping to get a wrongly convicted individual out,” he said.

Ms. Klobuchar ran the Hennepin County attorney’s office from 1999 through 2006 and oversaw Mr. Burrell’s first trial, conviction and sentencing in 2003. That conviction was eventually reversed by the Minnesota Supreme Court, which found that a key statement made by Mr. Burrell should not have been used in the trial; Ms. Klobuchar was succeeded by Mike Freeman, the current Hennepin County attorney, who oversaw a second trial for Mr. Burrell, in which he was also convicted and sentenced to life in prison, officials said. Mr. Burrell was 16 at the time of the shooting and is now 33.