Former restaurant owner faces criminal charges for refusing state COVID-19 restrictions

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(ABC 6 News) – A former Albert Lea restaurant owner was in court Wednesday facing criminal charges. Hanson was charged earlier this year for violating emergency orders when she kept her restaurant, The Interchange, open for in person dining – violating state orders.

She’s had multiple civil and criminal charges brought against her by the state. Wednesday, Nov. 24 was her pre-trial hearing for the criminal charges. These include one count of public nuisance and eight counts of violating emergency powers orders.

In the hearing she waived her right to an attorney – meaning she’s representing herself. Hanson filed a motion to have her current judge removed from the case and argued in court that her motions are being ignored. But in the case of the judge, the district and appellate court both heard her motion. And ruled that the judge was fit to stay on her case.

"My passion has become yours, mine, and our children and grandchildren’s liberties and freedoms. We are prepared to appeal any decision that abrogates my constitutional rights," Hanson said in a press conference that morning.

She has already had to pay 18,000 dollars in civil penalties to the state. Her jury trial is set to begin Dec. 6.