A special ed teacher and avid Trump supporter who’s set her sights on unseating first-term Rep. Ilhan Omar in 2020 may need to aim lower—and focus on getting herself out of a couple of criminal cases she’s facing.
Republican Danielle Stella, 31, launched her campaign for Omar’s Minnesota House seat in June—on an anti-crime platform, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. But it’s Stella who’s caught a case—twice.
In January, she was arrested and charged with felony shoplifting after authorities say she walked away with $2,327.97 worth of items from a Target after only ringing up a bill for $50 at the self-checkout.
In April, authorities say she struck again at the self-checkout, this time allegedly taking $40 worth of cat food and supplies from a grocery store.
In both cases, Stella blamed her head, not her heart, according to the Star-Tribune.
In the Target case, Stella told police that she recalled nothing beyond arriving at the store “due to her PTSD,” the news site reports, citing data from the criminal complaint. As for the grocery store, she said she just forgot to pay.
Regardless, Stella denies the charges and proclaims her innocence, telling The Guardian, by text message:
“I am not guilty of these crimes. In this country I am innocent until proven guilty and that is the law.”
She added: “If I was guilty of crimes, I would never run for public office, putting myself in the public eye under a microscope to be attacked by all political sides.”
An attorney for Stella, Joshua London, declined to comment.
Now, while neither Stella—nor any of the other GOP candidates eyeing Omar’s seat—has
a chance in hell any significant signs of support or fundraising in Omar’s heavily Democratic district, per the Star-Tribune, Stella is notable as she is apparently a darling of the right-wing-conspiracy wing of the ever Trump set.
Per The Guardian:
Stella’s candidacy has attracted interest from the far-right conspiracy website InfoWars, which broadcast an interview with her this week. Stella laughed and nodded as the host, J Owen Shroyer, called Omar “a witch” and said: “Everything about her is a fraud.”
Stella also is reportedly an adherent of the far-right (and completely untrue) conspiracy theory QAnon, which purports that
their dear leader Trump is battling a hidden cell of all-powerful liberal demagogues.
Well, while all that may be the twisted fantasies of the far-right, the facts are crystal clear when it comes to the actual consequences Stella faces in her criminal case.
If convicted on the felony, Stella faces up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine, The Guardian reports.