Moriarty fights to withhold evidence favorable to Trooper Londregan

On July 31, 2023, at 2 a.m. on busy metro freeway, Minnesota State Trooper Ryan Londregan shot and killed Ricky Cobb II, during an attempt to arrest Cobb for violating a domestic no contact order out of Ramsey County. Read more about the incident here.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) investigated the case, and Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty reviewed the case for charges. During her review process, Moriarty indicated that her office had hired a use-of-force expert which she claimed was “critical” to the process of determining whether Trooper Londregan’s actions were reasonable.

In a seemingly unrelated, but now very relevant press conference on January 3, 2024, Moriarty announced new policy she had enacted which intended to ensure evidence favorable to the defense (Brady/Giglio) would be made available to the defense in cases. This was reportedly done to promote transparency and to help build trust in the integrity of prosecutions in Hennepin County.

On January 24, 2024, Moriarty charged Trooper Londregan with Murder and related charges. Soon after it became clear from various court filings and press conferences that Moriarty had not relied upon the very use-of-force expert she had called “critical” to the process.

Now we learn that the reason Moriarty had not relied on the work of her use-of-force expert, was because that very expert had made it clear on October 13, during a conference with Moriarty, that he believed Trooper Londregan’s actions were reasonable and justified. 

What’s even more disturbing is that for all of Moriarty’s claims of improving transparency and trust in her office, she is allegedly trying to withhold information provided by her use-of-force expert which is favorable to Trooper Londregan. If true, that would represent a significant breech of her legal duties, not to mention being utterly hypocritical. 

In a blistering 52-page memorandum of law and motion to compel discovery filed in Hennepin County District Court today, Trooper Londregan’s defense attorneys, Chris Madel and Peter Wold, laid out compelling arguments that demonstrate Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty has been far from transparent, by withholding evidence provided to her by the use-of-force expert which is favorable to Trooper Londregan.

The Use-of-Force Expert

Last week I wrote about a court filing by Moriarty’s office that sought to quash a subpoena which would compel Moriarty’s expert use-of-force witness to provide the defense with all information relevant to his work done on the case. I suggested that it appeared Moriarty’s expert use-of-force witness had not agreed with her assessment of the use-of-force, or her desire to charge Trooper Londregan. Today’s defense filing confirms that — boldly.

Today’s filing identified the use-of-force expert that Moriarty hired as Jeff Noble, a retired Deputy Chief of Police for the Irvine Police Department in California. Noble has worked as a consultant and expert witness since 2005 in over 300 civil, criminal, and arbitration cases, in 26 states, involving law enforcement use of force and related matters. Noble has been retained by both defense and prosecution/petitioner parties in these cases.

It is significantly notable that today’s filing identified Noble as having been previously hired as an expert by both the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office in the trials of four officers charged in George Floyd’s death, and by the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office in the trial of one officer related to Philando Castile’s death.

By virtue of his involvement in those cases and in Trooper Londregan’s case, Noble has been retained as a use-of-force expert by prosecutors in 75% (6 of 8) of the cases in which Minnesota peace officers have been charged with a crime related to their use of deadly force. (Sadly, in the history of our state, all 8 of these prosecutions of peace officers have occurred since 2017). 

A review of Noble’s work as found on his website and through research indicates a body of work that appears to be professional and impartial.

A Timely and Related Case

In November 2023, Noble was credited by the Sonoma County District Attorney Carla Rodriguez in California for helping her conclude another deadly force case involving a peace officer. In that case, a Sonoma County Deputy had shot and killed an illegal immigrant who had picked up a rock to throw at the deputy just before being shot.

The case drew a lot of attention, and the California Attorney General declined to review the case. Rodriquez’s office took some 15 months to investigate and review the facts and hired Noble as an expert to assist.

“I wanted to find someone whose record and history demonstrates fairness, impartiality and no favoritism.”

Sonoma County District Attorney Carla Rodriguez, regarding hiring use-of-force expert Jeff Noble

For his part, Noble concluded that,

“…a reasonable police officer, knowing all of the facts and circumstances known to Deputy Dietrick, would have believed that Mr. Pelaez’s actions by picking up the rock that they were at imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury.”

Rodriguez ultimately determined the deputy, Michael Dietrick, had acted reasonably in defending himself from being injured or killed by the suspect wielding the rock, and declined to prosecute.

“Rodriguez said her office’s decision was ultimately based on legal standards as well as Noble’s independent evaluation of Dietrick’s actions.”


In today’s court filing, the defense summarized some of the information turned over by the prosecution during the discovery process:

“The defense learned that on October 13, 2023, Noble told seven members of the HCAO, including Moriarty, that “a reasonable officer in Trooper Londregan’s position would have perceived that Trooper [Brett] Seide was in danger of death or great bodily harm, specifically from being dragged by the vehicle as it continued to accelerate.” Noble also dismantled the HCAO’s other theories of Trooper Londregan’s fault in this case. In sum, on October 13, 2023, Noble, the HCAO’s handpicked expert, told the HCAO that Trooper Londregan committed no crime.”

Noble’s expert opinion as provided to Moriarty’s office was quoted in today’s filing as:

That information is significant, as it mirrors Trooper Londregan’s stated defense as filed in court filings on January 24th, long before the information from Noble was made public.

In the January 24th, 2024 filing, Trooper Londregan’s defense team stated,

“As will be shown at trial (if trial proves to be necessary), Trooper Londregan employed the use of deadly force against Ricky Cobb II (“Cobb”) to protect: (1) Trooper Brett Seide (“Seide”) from death and/or great bodily harm; and secondarily, (2) himself from death and/or great bodily harm. See Minn. Stat. § 609.066, Subds. 2(a)(1) & (2). Trooper Londregan will come forward with evidence showing that he acted in accordance with Minn. Stat. § 609.066.” 

Evidence Withheld

During a phone call to Noble in March, defense attorney Madel learned that Noble had written a report detailing his opinion of the use of force, and asked if Madel had a copy. That report, and other information not known, but made evident by an omitted or altered file in the discovery material, has not been provided to the defense by Moriarty’s office — which is now actively seeking to quash the subpoena the defense has served upon Noble to provide the information.

According to today’s filing, Moriarty’s office has fought to withhold the items of evidence by “claiming they are either innocuous, irrelevant, or protected by the work-product doctrine.”

The defense team aptly noted,

“It is difficult to conceive of more exculpatory documents and information than a government-paid expert in a law-enforcement use-of-force case that indicates the law enforcement officer did nothing wrong.”


“The U.S. Supreme Court has noted that, when in doubt, a prudent prosecutor will err on the side of disclosure of potential Brady material to ‘justify trust in the prosecutor” as one who pursues justice rather than convictions.’”

Judge Garcia will need to weigh the information in today’s defense filing, and rule on whether the defense subpoena for Noble to produce his report and other information stands or is quashed as requested by Moriarty’s office.

Regardless of the pending ruling, the information now known regarding the opinion of Moriarty’s use-of-force expert is a huge revelation and offers insight into Moriarty’s misguided and predetermined decision to charge Trooper Londregan.