The jury in an upcoming trial of a gang member charged with first-degree murder will hear allegations that Marlon Rashaad Robertson, 23, tried to intimidate witnesses by smuggling documents with their names out of jail so a friend could post them on Facebook.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Daniel Mabley on Monday ruled that although Robertson did not break the law by smuggling grand jury transcripts out of his jail cell, this actions could have the effect of discouraging or intimidating witnesses.
Mabley granted the prosecution's motions to include evidence that a few days after the shooting Robertson tried to sell the gun used to kill Kevin Braziel, 21, in north Minneapolis last June. He also ruled that they can include evidence that Robertson tried to identify protected witnesses by writing their names on the margins of the grand jury transcripts.
Robertson's trial is scheduled for October.
Defense attorney Thomas Kelly argued there was no evidence to show Robertson intended to intimidate anyone. However, assistant Hennepin County Attorney Andrew Lefevre said the Facebook post that included part documents included threats of retaliation against so-called "snitches."
Following the release of the transcripts earlier this year, Mabley ordered that Robertson's access to documents and people outside of jail to be tightly restricted.
Kelly said the restrictions are interfering with Robertson's right to review evidence that will be used against him at his trial. Kelly will argue for looser restrictions at a hearing scheduled for next month.