It’s a little trial in terms of length.

A mighty trial in terms of issues, according to the Minneapolis attorney representing Patricia Stockwell.

“This case involves important First Amendment questions,” Frederick Goetz told Judge Kevin Lund in arguing pretrial motions Wednesday morning.

Stockwell, 47, of Rochester, is accused of verbally threatening another woman because she is Muslim. The Olmsted County Attorney’s office has charged her with two counts of felony harassment and one count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct. She has pleaded not guilty.

Her trial got under way Wednesday with pretrial motions and an afternoon of jury selection. The whole trial could be over by the end of today.

The charges stem from alleged conduct in September 2006, when Stockwell is accused of verbally attacking and threatening a Somali woman based on Stockwell’s belief that the woman was Muslim because of the head scarf she was wearing…

The Somali woman told law enforcement she felt threatened, that Stockwell told her she felt like killing her. The woman was going to work at the time and screamed for her supervisor.

Stockwell denied yelling at the woman and said she was just trying to “plant a little seed” and urged the woman to say no to Islam.


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