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Associated Press, Published October 27 2010

Prosecutor: Aiding suicide trial should go forward

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota prosecutor is arguing that a former nurse charged with aiding the suicide of two people online shouldn't be protected by a free-speech claim.

Forty-eight-year-old William Melchert-Dinkel of Faribault is accused of going on the Internet and encouraging an English man and a Canadian woman to kill themselves.

His attorney wants the case dismissed. Among other things, attorney Terry Watkins argues his client's behavior is protected speech.

But in court documents filed Wednesday, Rice County Attorney Paul Beaumaster says Melchert-Dinkel's actions are equal to shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. Beaumaster says words meant to incite illegal action do not constitute free speech. Beaumaster says Melchert-Dinkel lied to “gratify his own depraved desires to push individuals over the ledge.”

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