After special prosecutor Thomas Heffelfinger’s press conference Thursday announcing charges brought against County Attorney Tim Scannell, the County Commissioners issued a statement, as did Scannell.
“This statement is being issued on behalf of the Cook County Board of Commissioners in response to the recent announcement by Special Prosecutor Tom Heffelfinger regarding the criminal charges filed against County Attorney Tim Scannell.
“Mr. Heffelfinger was appointed by Court Order, Special Prosecutor to assist the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). The Cook County Board of Commissioners has not been involved in the investigation by Special Prosecutor Heffelfinger and has no control over it.
“By law, the Cook County Board of Commissioners has very limited authority over elected officials like the County Attorney. The Board does not have the authority to unilaterally reprimand, suspend, or remove an elected official. Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 351 sets forth the procedure that must be followed for a recall election of an elected official to take place when malfeasance or nonfeasance of an elected official is demonstrated.
“The Cook County Board of Commissioners will continue to proactively monitor the situation with the goal, to the fullest extent allowed by the law, of ensuring that the interests of all parties involved and the citizens of Cook County are protected. We encourage the community to remain patient and allow the legal process to work.”
On behalf of Tim Scannell, his attorney Richard Swanson issued the following statement:
“Tim Scannell and his family have been under extreme stress ever since the attempt on his life in December 2011, when he was shot multiple times and nearly died in the Cook County Courthouse.
“We are very sorry and disappointed that the special prosecutor appointed in this case has chosen now – after all of this time, more than one year after the initial allegations arose – to bring a criminal indictment against Tim, who still works every day to deal with the PTSD, anxiety, and depression caused by the shooting.
“Tim knows that he acted inappropriately and continues to apologize and make amends for his poor decision and the pain he has caused the family involved, his own family, the community, and all of their friends. He did not, however, act criminally. And all of the alleged events in this case occurred while he was suffering in the darkest hours of his severe depression.
“We cannot discuss or further comment on the facts of this matter now or going forward. Unfortunately, a matter that should have been handled privately will now be decided publicly in the state’s criminal justice system. We believe that the charges that have been brought cannot be supported in a court of law.”