Norman case will proceed to trial

Published 3:02 pm Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mower County District Court Judge Fred Wellmann denied motions this week to dismiss the charges against former Albert Lea City Manager Jim Norman for allegedly misusing the city-issued credit card for personal purchases.

Jim Norman

In an order filed Monday, Wellmann stated there was probable cause to bring the charges against Norman. He also denied a claim that Norman was selectively prosecuted.

Norman’s case is slated to move forward to a pre-trial hearing April 28 in Mower County, with a jury trial scheduled for May 9 in front of a Freeborn County jury.

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Norman has invoked his 6th Amendment demand for a speedy trial.

“The court is not persuaded by Mr. Norman’s argument that the state has not provided any evidence that (he) participated in the offenses with which he was charged,” the order states. “Mr. Norman was issued a city of Albert Lea credit card in his name, signed an agreement acknowledging his responsibility for the card, and reimbursed the city of Albert Lea for personal purchases.”

Wellmann said Norman — through his lawyer Peggy Rockow — also failed to prove by a preponderance of evidence that Norman was a victim of selective prosecution.

The judge said to dismiss charges on this defense, Norman would have needed to prove that others similarly situated were not “proceeded against” for the same type of conduct and that Norman was singled out for prosecution out of “invidiousness or in bad faith,” according to court documents.

Norman, who resigned as city manager early last fall, faces eight charges — seven felonies and one gross misdemeanor in the case.

He entered a not guilty plea on all charges during his last hearing in February.