MINOT, N.D. — Last week I reported that state Sen. Jason Heitkamp, a Republican from District 26, seemed to be on track to settle a criminal theft charge in Bottineau County.
His defense attorney told me Heitkamp has cut a $1,500 check to the alleged victim in the case for the property at issue, and that he was in the process of working on getting the charges dismissed. The attorney, Matthew Dearth of the Vogel Law Firm, characterized the whole thing as a misunderstanding in which Heitkamp, while cleaning out a garage, disposed of some valuable items he didn’t have authority to get rid of.
As of this morning, court records show that a jury trial is still scheduled for November .
I thought it was important to update the story as Heitkamp is on the ballot this year. He’s running in one of the many contested Republican primaries across the state, this time for the House in District 25 (he was moved into a new district through redistricting). The theft charge against him had made headlines previously, and with the primary vote looming on June 14, I thought voters deserved to know the latest from the case.
But the way Heitkamp responded to my story is also noteworthy. In a video he recorded for Facebook while driving — “man ranting at his phone while driving” has become a popular genre of political commentary for a certain type of Republican — he accused me of having his phone or his home or possibly even his vehicle “bugged.”