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2 Minot police officers want lawsuit by former stabbing suspect thrown out of federal court

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FARGO, North Dakota — Two Minot police officers who are being sued by a man who spent 542 days in jail on an attempted murder charge says the complaint should be thrown out of federal court.

Thomas Mashburn was accused of stabbing another man after an argument that started inside a Minot bar in September 2011. The case was dismissed in March 2013, five days before trial, after Ward County prosecutors said there was a lack of credible evidence.

Mashburn and his wife, Jessica, sued Minot police and others in June 2013, alleging civil rights violations and false imprisonment. The complaint seeks unspecified damages.

Randall Bakke, the attorney for officers Caisee Sandusky and Jason Sundbakken, said in court documents filed Monday that the evidence does not support the lawsuit and the complaint should be dismissed. About 20 pages of the 40-page document are blacked out.

"Mashburn was lawfully arrested, prosecuted, and detained and therefore has not been deprived of any constitutional or other rights, and Jessica Mashburn's loss of consortium claim that depend on the viability of Mashburn's underlying claims, are also therefore without merit," Bakke said.

Mashburn's lawyer, Kerry Rosenquist, did not respond to a phone message Tuesday seeking comment.

Mashburn came from Arkansas in 2010 to work in the North Dakota oil fields for Halliburton. Court documents say that on the night of Sept. 4, 2011, he went out with other members of his crew to celebrate a co-worker's birthday. Police accused Mashburn of stabbing Jay Rasberry in the throat with a serrated knife in the early morning hours of Sept. 5, in the parking lot of the Dakota Lounge.

The city of Minot also filed documents Monday asking to be removed as a defendant in the case. Bryan Van Grinsven, an attorney representing the city, said even if Mashburn can prove negligence in the failure to investigate, it does not violate "substantive due process."

A judge had earlier dismissed Mashburn's claims against Rasberry, three other officers and several witnesses.

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