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Brent Castleman, Minot, acquitted of stalking at first trial held in state since trials halted due to COVID-19 restrictions

Brent Allen Castleman, 52, Minot, was acquitted on Thursday of stalking a woman in Minot.

He went to trial on Wednesday on the Class A misdemeanor stalking charge in district court in Minot before Judge Doug Mattson.

His defense attorney, Kyle Craig, said in an email on Thursday that it took the six person jury 15 minutes of deliberation to decide on the acquittal.

Craig added that this was the third case involving allegations from the same alleged victim that resulted in an acquittal for Castleman.

The Castleman trial was also the first jury trial in the state to be held since the suspension of trials in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Craig. Craig said new procedures were implemented in response to the COVID-19. The jurors were all spaced at least six feet apart and some were seated outside the jury box during the trial. Screens were put in place on the witness stand and by the judge to protect against potential spread of the virus. Masks were also made available but were not required, said Craig. “It went surprisingly smoothly,” said Craig in the email.

Castleman had been charged in this case with stalking a woman. He is facing multiple other charges in separate cases that will be tried before other judges later this fall. Judges in the judicial district had recused themselves from hearing those cases against Castleman and the cases were assigned to judges outside the district.

A jury trial is scheduled for Sept. 28 before Northeast District Court Judge Michael Hurly on some child abuse charges against Castleman. Hurly had earlier dismissed some of the child abuse charges against Castleman because they were connected to an assault of which Castleman was previously acquitted. Castleman was alleged to have assaulted the woman in front of a child or children and had been acquitted by a jury of assaulting the woman.

In an unrelated case, a jury trial is scheduled for Nov. 8 before Northwest District Court Judge Kirsten Sjue on charges that Castleman kicked a police officer in the groin and in the knee while he was resisting arrest on Feb. 28. Castleman, who was extremely drunk at the time, refused to stop and physically resisted arrest and was tased by officers, according to court documents. Police had responded to a burglary alarm at the Ground Round in Minot at 4:15 a.m. that day. His lawyer had previously said that Castleman had been waiting for a cab ride home before the incident. In that case, Castleman is charged with Class B felony aggravated assault on a police officer, Class C felony resisting arrest, and Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass.

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