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“False Memory” Advocate Loses AG Election in Minnesota

The Republican candidate for Attorney General in Minnesota this year was R. Christopher Barden, a lawyer and psychologist who has played a prominent role in numerous cases challenging the existence of recovered memories of abuse. Barden has argued that recovered-memory testimony should be rejected as unreliable even in cases where there is corroboration. One example of this extreme position was the Quattrochi case in Rhode Island—a case so strong that it is contained in the archive on this web site (Legal Cases, No. 24).

Barden, who lived in Utah for years, moved to Minnesota recently and obtained the Republican nomination for Attorney General as a virtual unknown. He launched a strong attack against incumbent Attorney General Lori Swanson, challenging her ethics and accusing her of corruption. One newspaper described Barden’s charges as “over the top”; another noted that he “offered no significant proof” for his claims. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune concluded that Barden is “clearly an ideologue.”

In a year when incumbents were at a strong disadvantage and Republicans had momentum across the country, Christopher Barden was nevertheless soundly defeated, losing by more than 200,000 votes. Minnesotans apparently have the common sense to identify and reject extremism and over-zealousness.


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