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Port: Republican state senator reaches settlement in theft case, criminal charges may be dismissed

"The complainant has been made whole. A check was cut, and an affidavit was signed," Sen. Jason Heitkamp's defense attorney says.

Jason Heitkamp
Jason Heitkamp, a Republican senator in North Dakota's in District 26, is seen here in a campaign announcement video posted on Facebook announcing his campaign for the Legislature in March of 2020.
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MINOT, N.D. — Back in October, a theft charge were filed in Bottineau County against Sen. Jason Heitkamp, a Republican from Wahpeton. Heitkamp was accused of stealing items from the garage of a woman he'd been in a relationship with.

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Now the matter appears to be on the path to settlement. Matthew Dearth, an attorney from the Vogel Law Firm who is representing Heitkamp, says his client has agreed to pay for the items in dispute.

"The victim has expressed they're not interested in pursuing the criminal charges," Dearth told me. He said Heitkamp has written a check for $1,500 for some "antique items" that he disposed of while cleaning out a garage.

"Some items got thrown out in the trash," Dearth said. "There was some confusion. Jason thought he had permission to throw them out."

Dearth said Heitkamp's payment will settle the matter. "The complainant has been made whole. A check was cut, and an affidavit was signed."

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They're going through the process of getting the criminal charge dismissed.

Heitkamp has served District 26 in the state Senate since 2021, but was moved into District 25 when the legislative boundary lines were redrawn for redistricting, prematurely ending his term in that seat after two years.

He's currently one of three Republicans seeking the NDGOP nomination for two House seats in District 25.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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