Gibbs' attorneys get restraining order against trial spectator
The Associated Press MINOT -- Two attorneys representing Moe Gibbs have obtained a restraining order against a spectator at Gibbs' murder trial, saying the man followed them and made threatening remarks about defense lawyers. Northwest District J...
The Associated Press
MINOT -- Two attorneys representing Moe Gibbs have obtained a restraining order against a spectator at Gibbs' murder trial, saying the man followed them and made threatening remarks about defense lawyers.
Northwest District Judge William McLees granted the restraining order against John Franklyn Kraft after listening to testimony from attorney Jeff Bredahl during a brief hearing Monday.
It directs Kraft to stay away from the office and homes of Bredahl and Dennis Fisher, who are defending Gibbs against a murder charge in the death of Mindy Morgenstern, 22, last September in her Valley City apartment.
Bredahl and Fisher are partners in a Fargo law firm. Bredahl lives in West Fargo, Fisher in Fargo. The restraining order's terms will last for a year, McLees said.
During Gibbs' trial, the order also applies to the Ward County Courthouse and the Minot motel where the two lawyers are staying.
Kraft, 55, who listed addresses in Minot and Bismarck, did not attend the hearing and could not be reached for comment. Vern Erck, the Ward County sheriff, said Kraft was served with a temporary restraining order last week in Minot, where he apparently was living out of his van.
Jurors were picked to hear the case June 26. They began their deliberations late Monday after listening to six days of trial testimony.
On June 27, Kraft sat in on the trial and lingered outside the Ward County courthouse, and in a third-floor corridor where spectators sometimes gathered, witnesses said.
Fisher, in his request for a restraining order, said Kraft had camped out in the parking lot of the Minot motel where he and Bredahl were staying. "One vehicle was defaced and vandalized overnight," Fisher wrote in his request.
Bredahl said during Monday's hearing that Kraft made "smart aleck" and "pointed" comments directed at defense lawyers. Gibbs' lawyers said they worried jurors might overhear Kraft.
Attorneys in the Gibbs case have declined to give interviews about it because of a gag order issued by Judge John Paulson. Monday's hearing on the restraining order took place in a third-floor courtroom in the Ward County courthouse, next door to where Gibbs' trial is being held.
Both attorneys have received threats during the Gibbs trial, and Fargo and West Fargo police regularly check on the attorneys' homes, Bredahl said during the hearing.