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Special prosecutor appointed in Scannell investigation

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A lawyer who twice led the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota has been appointed as special prosecutor to determine whether criminal charges are warranted against Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell for his relationship with a teenage girl.

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Former U.S. Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger, a 35-year lawyer working in private practice in Minneapolis, has been appointed special prosecutor to review the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's investigation of Scannell.

Because Scannell prosecutes people who commit sex crimes with minors, and because he is accused of having an inappropriate romantic relationship with a 17-year-old girl, Cook County Sheriff Mark Falk in December asked the BCA to investigate Scannell.

Scannell, was ordered by the court last December to stay away from the minor girl.

The girl's mother said Scannell came to her place of employment on Sept. 25 and told her he loved her daughter and that his relationship with her became physical over the summer with "kissing and touching, but nothing illegal."

The Harassment Restraining Order signed by 6th Judicial District Chief Judge Shaun Floerke stated that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Scannell had harassed the girl by following, pursuing or stalking her and by making harassing phone calls.

Reached by phone Friday at his Best & Flanagan Law Office in Minneapolis, Heffelfinger said he is "very new to the case and I'm not in a position to talk about it." He declined further comment.

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