Herald JournalHerald Journal, Jan. 5, 2004

Rep. Borrell settles

By Ryan Gueningsman

State Representative Richard Borrell settled two days before he was set to go to trial on charges of false political advertising.

Borrell appeared in Wright County Court Friday afternoon for a pre-trial at the request of Judge Kim Johnson.

Borrell pleaded guilty to both counts of false political advertising, and when asked by Johnson if Borrell believed that if this matter went to trial, that a jury might find him guilty of false information, Borrell said "yes."

Borrell was given a stay of adjudication, and placed on unsupervised probation for one year. He also must pay court fees totaling $1,500, in addition to sending letters of apology to his former political opponent Darren Knight and Wright County Attorney Tom Kelly within 30 days.

The court also stated that there would be "no removal from political office pursuant to this court order."

The judge told Borrell that if he complies with the stipulations set forward, the matter will be dismissed and not go on his record.

After the hearing, Borrell's attorney Mark Wersal said that his client "felt vindicated by what occurred," and also added that "it was such a good deal that we had to take it, rather than take the risk of being found guilty and being forced to give up his seat."

Prosecuting attorney Michael Thompson noted that "the guilty plea clearly indicates admission by Borrell that a jury easily could have found him guilty."

Knight, who was in attendance in the courtroom Friday, said that the whole matter has been a difficult time for him and his wife, and at this time, he is not planning on running in this fall's election.

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