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County attorney seeks change of venue in Wagar case

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WILLMAR -- Citing pre-trial publicity, the Kandiyohi County Attorney's office is seeking a change of venue in the case of Scott Wagar, the rural Willmar man charged in a homecoming incident that included spraying teens with a squirt gun filled with water and fox urine.

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In a motion filed Tuesday, the change of venue is requested on the grounds that "numerous articles in the West Central Tribune regarding this case including letters from the defendant and his family, interviews with the defendant all discussing inadmissible evidence concerning unrelated incidents from past years ... numerous letters to the editor from community demonstrating a clear misunderstanding of the applicable facts and law. Calls from the defendant for the citizens of Kandiyohi County to 'mob' the courthouse undermining the authority of the court, as most recently in the article published on the Front Page of the Willmar Tribune January 20, 2009. The pre-trial publicity in the present case has made it impossible to select a jury of impartial citizens without a change of venue and guarantee a fair trial for all parties."

Wagar faces charges of fifth-degree assault, theft and disorderly conduct for the Sept. 16 incident. The allegations include that he sprayed the teens with water and fox urine, got into a wrestling match with one of the teens and demanded $100 for a cell phone he found after the incident.

Also filed Tuesday was a motion seeking to prevent Wagar's defense attorney from introducing into evidence other alleged incidents outside of the charges in the case.

Wagar's next court date is Feb. 3 before Judge Michael J. Thompson in Kandiyohi County District Court.

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