Category Michelle MacDonald

Michelle MacDonald discloses law enforcement considered her a ‘suspect’

Michelle MacDonald has disclosed law enforcement considered her a “suspect” in the disappearance of the two sisters from Lakeville, according to a publication co-authored by MacDonald.

MacDonald serves as Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney.  Grazzini-Rucki was convicted last July on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights for her role in the disappearance of her two daughters, Samantha and Gianna Rucki.

In the publication, MacDonald provides details on a phone conversation she had with Lieutenant Jason Polinski of the Lakeville Police Department. According to MacDonald, Polinski said she was no longer considered a suspect:

“Finally, he said I was no longer a suspect unless someone came in with evidence I participated in the girls’ disappearance and I appeared on early on with eighteen others.”  

MacDonald also admits in her publication that she “suspected the only evidence they have is that I’ve been Sandra’s attorney throughout her ordeal.”  Continue reading

Michelle MacDonald appeals possible suspension of law license, campaign law violation

Michelle MacDonald is appealing both a recommendation from a Minnesota Supreme Court referee that her law license be suspended and a ruling from a three-judge panel which ruled she “knowingly violated” campaign law when she falsely claimed her campaign was endorsed by a non-existent Republican organization.

Court documents show attorneys for MacDonald filed paperwork with the Minnesota Court of Appeals within the last few days on both appeals.

Minnesota Supreme Court referee recommended suspension of Michelle MacDonald’s law license

A judicial referee appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court recommended earlier this month that Michelle MacDonald’s law license be suspended for a minimum of 60 days, followed by two years of probation, which would include a mental health evaluation.

The recommendation by Judge Heather Sweetland comes after a two day hearing was held last November about an attorney complaint filed against MacDonald, who was a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016, and who also serves as Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney.

MacDonald was arrested during a family court hearing in September 2013 while serving as Grazzini-Rucki’s attorney. The public booking from MacDonald’s arrest by the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office is pictured above-left.  Continue reading

MN Supreme Court referee recommends suspension of Michelle MacDonald’s law license

A judicial referee appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court has recommended that Michelle MacDonald’s law license be suspended for a minimum of 60 days, followed by two years of probation, which would include a mental health evaluation.

The recommendation by Judge Heather Sweetland comes after a two day hearing was held in November about an attorney complaint filed against MacDonald, who was a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016, and who also serves as Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney.

Below are the findings issued by Judge Sweetland regarding MacDonald.

Michelle MacDonald – Referee Findings Fact, Conclusion of Law, Recommendation for Discipline – January 03,… by Michael Brodkorb on Scribd

Attorney complaint against MacDonald alleged violation of rules governing attorney conduct

The 16-page petition for disciplinary action for violating of rules governing attorney conduct was filed against MacDonald by the Director of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, Susan M. Humiston

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Court rules Michelle MacDonald ‘knowingly violated’ campaign law

A three-judge panel has ruled that Michelle MacDonald, who was a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2016, “knowingly violated” campaign law when she falsely claimed she was endorsed by a non-existent Republican organization.

The judges with the Office of Administrative Hearings also imposed a $500 civil penalty against MacDonald.

Steve Timmer, one of people who filed the complaint against MacDonald said today, “I am not a fan of party endorsements for any judicial office. Even worse is when a candidate, campaigning to sit on the Supreme Court, says or implies that she is endorsed when she isn’t.”

Timmer added, “that is what Michelle MacDonald did, and I am glad that the Office of Administrative Hearings saw it that way, too.”

Complaint alleged MacDonald’s false claim of endorsement was a “knowing and intentional violation” of campaign laws

Judge Jessica Palmer-Denig held a hearing in November on the complaint filed against MacDonald by Barbara Linert of Eagan and Timmer of Edina, who claimed MacDonald provided false information to the Star Tribune for publication in their “Voter Guide.”

Linert said today that she “was glad Michelle MacDonald was held accountable for misleading the voters.” Continue reading

Court hearing tomorrow on campaign complaint against MacDonald

The Office of Administrative Hearings will convene a three-judge panel tomorrow for an evidentiary hearing on a campaign complaint filed against Michelle MacDonald, who was a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2016.

The court hearing will be at the Office of Administrative Hearings at 9:30AM in St. Paul.

Just days before the election, Judge Jessica A. Palmer-Denig ordered there was probable cause to believe MacDonald violated the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act by falsely claiming her current campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court had received the endorsement of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

MacDonald was soundly defeated by incumbent Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Natalie Hudson on Election Day.

Complaint alleges MacDonald’s false claim of endorsement was a “knowing and intentional violation” of campaign laws

Judge Palmer-Denig held a hearing in November on the complaint filed against MacDonald by Barbara Linert of Eagan and Steve Timmer of Edina, who claim MacDonald provided false information to the Star Tribune for publication in their “Voter Guide.”

In 2014, MacDonald was the Republican endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court against Justice David Lillehaug. MacDonald lost to Lillehaug by just 7 points — 53 percent to 46 percent in November 2014.

Earlier this year, MacDonald announced she would run again for the Minnesota Supreme Court, but she was not endorsed by the Republican Party of Minnesota after Republicans decided not to endorse judicial candidates.

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Judge: probable cause to believe MacDonald violated campaign law

Just days before the election, Judge Jessica A. Palmer-Denig has ordered there is probable cause to believe Michelle MacDonald violated the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act by falsely claiming her current campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court had received the endorsement of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

Judge Palmer-Denig held a hearing earlier this week on the complaint filed against MacDonald by Barbara Linert of Eagan and Steve Timmer of Edina, who claim MacDonald provided false information to the Star Tribune for publication in their “Voter Guide.”

Complaint alleges MacDonald’s false claim of endorsement was a “knowing and intentional violation” of campaign laws

In 2014, MacDonald was the Republican endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court against Justice David Lillehaug. MacDonald lost to Lillehaug by just 7 points — 53 percent to 46 percent in November 2014.

Earlier this year, MacDonald announced she would run again for the Minnesota Supreme Court, but she was not endorsed by the Republican Party of Minnesota after Republicans decided not to endorse judicial candidates.

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Judge orders hearing on campaign complaint against MacDonald

The Office of Administrative Hearings has ordered a hearing be held next week on the complaint filed against Michelle MacDonald, which alleges she violated the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act by falsely claiming her current campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court had received the endorsement of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

The complaint against MacDonald was filed earlier this week by Barbara Linert of Eagan and Steve Timmer of Edina, who claim MacDonald provided false information to the Star Tribune for publication in their “Voter Guide.”

In an order issued earlier today, Judge Jessica A. Palmer-Denig said the complaint filed against MacDonald “alleges sufficient facts” to “support finding a prima facie violation”:

The Administrative Law Judge concludes that the complaint alleges sufficient facts regarding Respondent’s claimed endorsements to support finding a prima facie violation of Minn. Stat. § 211B.02.

Judge Palmer-Denig ordered a probable cause hearing to be held next Tuesday. According to the order from court:

At the conclusion of the probable cause hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will either: (1) dismiss the complaint based on a determination that the complaint is frivolous, or that there is no probable cause to believe that the violation of law alleged in the complaint has occurred; or (2) determine that there is probable cause to believe that the violation of law alleged in the complaint has occurred and refer the case to the Chief Administrative Law Judge for the scheduling of an evidentiary hearing. Evidentiary hearings are conducted pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 211B.35 (2016).

The complaint alleges MacDonald’s false claim of endorsement was a “knowing and intentional violation” of campaign laws.

In 2014, MacDonald was the Republican endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court against Justice David Lillehaug. MacDonald lost to Lillehaug by just 7 points — 53 percent to 46 percent in November 2014.

Earlier this year, MacDonald announced she would run again for the Minnesota Supreme Court, but she was not endorsed by the Republican Party of Minnesota after Republicans decided not to endorse judicial candidates.

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Campaign complaint filed against Michelle MacDonald

A complaint has been filed against Michelle MacDonald, alleging she violated the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act by falsely claiming her current campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court had received the endorsement of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

The complaint filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings by Barbara Linert of Eagan and Steve Timmer of Edina, alleges MacDonald provided false information to the Star Tribune for publication in their “Voter Guide.”

MacDonald also serves as Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney.

Complaint alleges MacDonald’s false claim of endorsement was a “knowing and intentional violation” of campaign laws

In 2014, MacDonald was the Republican endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court against Justice David Lillehaug. MacDonald lost to Lillehaug by just 7 points — 53 percent to 46 percent in November 2014.

Earlier this year, MacDonald announced she would run again for the Minnesota Supreme Court, but she was not endorsed by the Republican Party of Minnesota after Republicans decided not to endorse judicial candidates.

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Disciplinary hearing against MacDonald scheduled for November

A hearing will be held in November involving the attorney complaint filed against Michelle MacDonald, who is currently a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, and also serves as Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney.

A 16-page petition for disciplinary action for violating of rules governing attorney conduct was filed against MacDonald by the Director of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, Susan M. Humiston

The complaint against MacDonald is focused on her behavior during family court proceedings involving Grazzini-Rucki and her legal representation of Joseph Francis D’Costa. The complaint alleges MacDonald disorganization required the trial to last longer than necessary, adding that MacDonald offered exhibits that “were a mess.”

MacDonald’s attorney told Minnesota Lawyer in August that she will fight the complaint.

On her campaign website, MacDonald encourages people to attend her disciplinary hearing, but promotes the wrong date of the hearing. MacDonald’s website states “the hearing is on Wednesday, November 16. All are welcomed to attend.”

The hearing is actually scheduled for November 15, 2016 at 9:00 A.M., at the Minnesota Judicial Center, Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board Courtroom.

According to the scheduling order, the disciplinary hearing is expected to last two days. A final determination on any disciplinary action against MacDonald will be announced in January.

The disciplinary hearing against MacDonald will be held one week after voters will decided if MacDonald should be elected to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court. MacDonald is running against Justice Natalie Hudson.

In 2014, MacDonald was the Republican endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court against Justice David Lillehaug. MacDonald lost to Lillehaug by just 7 points — 53 percent to 46 percent in November 2014.

This year, MacDonald was not endorsed by the Republican Party of Minnesota for the Minnesota Supreme Court after Republicans decided not to endorse judicial candidates.

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MN Supreme Court candidate ‘debate’ canceled; Was it ever really scheduled?

Michelle MacDonald won’t be participating in a debate against incumbent Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Natalie Hudson, as the organizers of the debate quietly announced the event was canceled in tweet on Sunday morning.

MacDonald, who serves as Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney, claimed last week that she would be appearing against Hudson “head to head in a televised debate” hosting by the Minnesota Voters Alliance this Wednesday evening.

Less than an hour after MacDonald announced she would be debating Hudson, a representative of the Minnesota Voters Alliance said Hudson had not yet been invited to participate in the debate.

Andy Cilek, Executive Director of the Minnesota Voters Alliance said MacDonald’s email was not accurate as Hudson would be formally invited to participate in the debate the following day.

But on Sunday, Cilek announced in an early morning tweet that the debate was “canceled due to scheduling conflicts. It will not be re-scheduled.”

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Michelle MacDonald dishonest about past attorney discipline

Michelle MacDonald vigorously denied any additional attorney complaints had been filed against her when asked during an interview earlier this year with Republicans who were deciding if she would be endorsed again in her bid for the Minnesota Supreme Court, despite being disciplined in 2012.

In her interview with the Republican Party of Minnesota’s Judicial Elections Committee on May 13, 2016, MacDonald acknowledges that an attorney complaint was filed against her in April 2014 with the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board by Judge David Knutson.

Knutson filed the complaint based on MacDonald’s behavior while serving as Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney.

MacDonald said in her interview that she had not been informed by the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board if the investigation into Knutson’s complaint had not been completed.

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Attorney complaint filed against Michelle MacDonald

A 16-page petition for disciplinary action for violating of rules governing attorney conduct has been filed against Michelle MacDonald by the Director of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, Susan M. Humiston.

The complaint against MacDonald is focused on her behavior during family court proceedings involving Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and her legal representation of Joseph Francis D’Costa. The complaint alleges MacDonald disorganization required the trial to last longer than necessary, adding that MacDonald offered exhibits that “were a mess.”

MacDonald’s attorney told Minnesota Lawyer that she will fight the complaint.

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Attorney: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki used donated ‘food stamp cards’ for $50K bail

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was able to post her $50,000 bail within hours of being convicted of six felonies for deprivation of parental rights, by using donated “food stamp cards” according to her attorney, Michelle MacDonald.

Grazzini-Rucki was found guilty last week on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights related to the disappearance of her daughters, Samantha and Gianna Rucki. The sisters ran from their home on April 19, 2013, during a custody and divorce proceeding involving their Grazzini-Rucki and David Rucki.

David Rucki was awarded full custody of all five of his children in November 2013, while two of his daughters remained missing. Rucki was reunited with his daughters days after they were found and they live with him at the family’s home in Lakeville.

After the guilty verdict was announced, Assistant Dakota County Attorney Kathryn Keena said Grazzini-Rucki was a flight risk and asked for Grazzini-Rucki to be held in custody until her sentencing hearing on September 21, 2016.

Picture source: Dakota County Sheriff's Office
Picture source: Dakota County Sheriff’s Office

Keena noted it took nearly two months for law enforcement to find Grazzini-Rucki after an arrest warrant was issued for her last August. Grazzini-Rucki was eventually found at the Star Island Resort and Club in Kissimmee, Florida on October 18, 2015 and extradited back to Minnesota to await her trial.

Grazzini-Rucki was immediately taken into custody after Judge Karen Asphaug said Grazzini-Rucki would be required to post bail of $100,000 to be released without probationary conditions, or $50,000 to be released with probationary conditions.

Court documents show Grazzini-Rucki posted a $50,000 bail bond and was released from jail just hours after being convicted. Grazzini-Rucki repeatedly claimed in court that she had no money, income or home.

Grazzini-Rucki criminal defense attorney, Stephen Grigsby, said in court that he was not being paid to serve as her attorney and Grazzini-Rucki had many of her court fees waived after the judge approved her request to proceed “In Forma Pauperis.”

In response to a request for comment about how Grazzini-Rucki was able to post bail, MacDonald said a woman who was at the trial collected donations for Grazzini-Rucki, which included “food stamp cards.” MacDonald said the donations were brought to a bail bondsman by the woman at the trial, but the bail bondsman would not accept payment in that form. Continue reading

Michelle MacDonald not endorsed by GOP

Michelle MacDonald, the controversial Republican endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014, was not endorsed by the Republican Party of Minnesota for the Minnesota Supreme Court after Republicans decided not to endorse judicial candidates.

MacDonald had been recommended by the Republican Party of Minnesota Judicial Elections Committee to be endorsed again by the Republican Party of Minnesota for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

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Michelle MacDonald recommended for GOP endorsement for MN Supreme Court — again

Michelle MacDonald, the controversial Republican endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014, has been recommended by the Republican Party of Minnesota Judicial Elections Committee to be endorsed again by the Republican Party of Minnesota for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

MacDonald was endorsed by Republicans in 2014 to run against Justice David Lillehaug for a seat on the Minnesota Supreme Court. After MacDonald was endorsed, news broke that she was facing criminal charges for suspicion of drunken driving and resisting arrest. Continue reading