A bail fund promoted by Sen. Kamala Harris and some Joe Biden campaign staffers reportedly helped release a Minnesota man accused of sexually assaulting a child.
Records obtained by Fox News indicate that that Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF) may have assisted in the release of Timothy Wayne Columbus.
Columbus, 36, was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly sexually assaulting a young girl. She was around 8-years-old.
A warrant was issued for Columbus’ arrest on June 25 but he was later bailed out of jail and, per court documents obtained by Fox News, filed to have his bail returned to MFF.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund , a bail fund based in Minneapolis, was publicized by Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris (pictured)
Harris and more than 10 campaign employees linked to Biden have requested donations from their followers during the demonstrations in Minneapolis this summer.
Harris shared a Twitter post that asked people to donate to MFF on June 1, just one week after George Floyd died in police custody and nationwide demonstrations against police brutality gripped the nation.
‘If you’re able to, chip in now to the @MNFreedomFund to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota,’ Harris tweeted.
According to Fox News, court documents said that Columbus was a friend of the young girl’s grandmother and the girl was living with her at the time.
Kamala Harris on June 1 shared a tweet that asked people to donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund amid demonstrations over the death of George Floyd
Documents said that when the child was around eight, she told authorities that ‘Tim’ had sexually assaulted her on the couch.
‘Victim did not tell anyone what happened at the time but years later told a family member.’ the publication reports.
The warrant said the grandmother had seen Columbus say to the child ‘this is our secret’, prompting her to suspect Columbus of harming the child.
It wasn’t until years later that the mother said she learned ‘something happened.’
Columbus denied the allegations and maintained his innocence to authorities. He could face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, if convicted.
Columbus had a bail set at $75,000 for conditional release, Fox News reports, and $300,000 for unconditional release.
His bail request that asked the money be returned to MFF reportedly does not list the amount, but a judge approved Columbus for conditional release on July 1.
MFF’s website said that it has used at least $3,475,000 for bailing people out from the county jail, and $210,000 specifically for demonstrators connected to the protests. Pictured: Kamala Harris
‘Bail, also known as bond, is money charged by the state to release a person from custody while their criminal or immigration case proceeds,’ according to Believers Bail Out.
When a person pays bail and appears for their scheduled court appearances, the money is refunded. In regards to bail funds like MFF, people who have received that money will sign documents asking that the money be given back to the fund.
MFF’s website said that it has used at least $3,475,000 for bailing people out from the county jail, and $210,000 specifically for demonstrators connected to the protests.
Fox 9 reported in August that MFF had raised $35million following Floyd’s death.
President Trump mentioned MFF during a press conference on August 31, where he attempted to disparage the group by linking it directly with protesters.
Pictured: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden departs after attending campaign meetings at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, Delaware
‘Thirteen members of Biden’s campaign staff donated to bail and — rioters — they’re getting them out of jail. Looters — they got them out of jail. And his running mate, Kamala, urged their supporters to do the same thing,’ he said.
Trump was referring to a Reuters report that said at least 13 Biden campaign staffers said they had contributed to the fund in Twitter posts between May 26 and 27.
But as pointed out by The Washington Post, MFF only contributed to a small number of protest-related jail releases during initial protests.
WaPo reports that 92 per cent of arrested protesters did not have to pay bail and just 10 per cent used a monetary bond, according to the American Bail Coalition.
The bail also helped release some non-protesters, including Christopher Boswell, who was charged with kidnapping and sexual assault.
MFF reportedly allocated $100,000 for Floyd and $350,000 for Boswell.
Fox News reports that Boswell was previously convicted on sexual assault charges and faced prosecution by Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
A report from Reuters said that at least 13 staffers with Joe Biden campaign publicized donations for MFF on Twitter
Biden staffer: ‘Cash bail is discrimination against the poor and must be abolished Let’s keep up this support for the [MFF]. Who’s next?’
Per a statement, the MFF does not ‘make determinations of bail support based on the crimes that individuals are alleged to have committed,’ MFF interim director Greg Lewin said, WaPo reports.
‘We are, however, taking steps to strengthen our internal procedures for ensuring that those we bail out receive support, especially if they are in need of housing or medical treatment.
‘Those processes involve renewing our commitment to listen to the communities directly impacted by our efforts, and ensuring those we bail out have the necessary support to safely return to their families and their community.’
On MFF’s website, the group said that view every individual as innocent until proven guilty.
‘MFF believes that every individual who has been arrested by the police is innocent until proven guilty, and if a judge deems them eligible for bail, they should not have to wait in jail simply because they don’t have the same income or resources as others with more privilege,’ it read.
Joe Biden (pictured): ‘The cash bail system incarcerates people who are presumed innocent. And, it disproportionately harms low-income individuals’
Bail advocates and the Biden campaign have expressed favor in ending cash bail because it oftentimes affects people of color, some of whom may not be able to afford the fee, and cause them to lose income as they await trial.
‘Cash bail is discrimination against the poor and must be abolished Let’s keep up this support for the [MFF]. Who’s next?’ one Biden campaign staffer wrote on Twitter.
‘While massive criminal justice and immigration reform is needed immediately we have to do what we can now.’ another wrote.
According to Biden’s website, ‘Cash bail is the modern-day debtors’ prison. ‘
‘The cash bail system incarcerates people who are presumed innocent. And, it disproportionately harms low-income individuals.
‘Biden will lead a national effort to end cash bail and reform our pretrial system by putting in place, instead, a system that is fair and does not inject further discrimination or bias into the process.’