Category Legal Developments

MacDonald ran against Chutich because she is gay

Michelle MacDonald decided to challenge Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chutich this election because Chutich is gay, according to comments made by MacDonald in a story published by the Star Tribune.  MacDonald, who ran twice unsuccessfully for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016, filed to run against Chutich in June.

MacDonald’s candidacy hasn’t generated many positive headlines, but in a story published today by the Star Tribune, MacDonald discloses one of her bigoted reasons for challenging Chutich:

In a recent interview, MacDonald singled out Chutich’s sexuality as helping her decide who to challenge in this year’s election. Three other members of the court are on the ballot this year but are unopposed. “It factored in, but it wasn’t the only reason,” MacDonald said. “ … When that came to me, that piece, I’m just like, ‘Yep, that’s the one.’ ”

MacDonald said she views Chutich’s marital status as her right but cast it as a “liberal view” counter to MacDonald’s conservative philosophy.

“Spiritually, the reason why you connect with somebody is to procreate, basically,” MacDonald said. “And I’m pro-life. You can certainly publish that. I’m not afraid to be pro-life.”

MacDonald’s bigoted reason for running against Chutich is not the only controversial comments she made in recent weeks. Continue reading

MacDonald: Grazzini-Rucki didn’t commit a crime, judge did

Michelle MacDonald does not believe Sandra Grazzini-Rucki committed a crime when she abducted her children during a custody dispute with her ex-husband, according to comments from MacDonald in a recent interview. MacDonald said the crime involving the disappearance of Samatha and Gianna Rucki was committed by Judge David Knutson when he issued a court order involving custody in 2012.

The shocking statements by MacDonald were made during an interview last week with Blois Olson on WCCO Radio. MacDonald is currently a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, having previously run twice unsuccessfully for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016.

MacDonald served as Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney during the entire 944 days her client’s daughters were missing. Grazzini-Rucki and MacDonald’s former campaign chair and manager were each convicted of six felonies for their roles in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters.

In an interview about her candidacy, MacDonald responds to a question from Olson about her knowledge of Grazzini-Rucki’s involved in the disappearance of her daughters. Despite recently uncovered phone conversations which confirm MacDonald knew her client was involved in the disappearance of her daughters, MacDonald answers that she was unaware. Continue reading

Investigation by lawyers board into Michelle MacDonald continues

The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility is still conducting their investigation into alleged violations by Michelle MacDonald of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys, according to a letter from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

The investigation into the alleged violations by MacDonald was opened after Missing in Minnesota filed a formal complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in June after MacDonald filed a “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit against Missing in Minnesota, which appears to be in violation of an Order of the Minnesota Supreme Court which details the conditions by which MacDonald is allowed to practice law.

MacDonald is currently a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, having previously run twice unsuccessfully for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016. Continue reading

Grazzini-Rucki files another fraudulent harassment restraining order

Weeks before the release of a new book about her role in the disappearance of her daughters, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has filed another fraudulent harassment order against one of the book’s authors, Michael Brodkorb.

Earlier today, the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office served a Temporary Injunction for Protection Against Stalking on Brodkorb at his home in Eagan, Minnesota. The petition was filed in Pinellas County, Florida by Sandra Grazzini-Rucki on September 26, 2018. Grazzini-Rucki moved back to her home in Florida this past June.

Grazzini-Rucki was convicted in 2016 on six counts of deprivation of parental rights for her role in the disappearance of her daughters.

In the petition requesting the injunction, Grazzini-Rucki falsely claims Brodkorb recently followed her, in Florida, in a black vehicle with Minnesota license plates. Brodkorb does not own a black vehicle, nor has he never been to Florida. Brodkorb was in Minnesota during the time Grazzini-Rucki claimed he was in Florida. Also in the petition are claims that Brodkorb has cyberstalked Grazzini-Rucki.

A court hearing on the petition filed by Grazzini-Rucki is scheduled for next Friday, October 12, 2018, at 10:30 AM in Clearwater, Florida. Continue reading

Jail recordings confirm MacDonald knew Grazzini-Rucki took her children

Recently uncovered phone conversations between Michelle MacDonald and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki recorded shortly after Grazzini-Rucki was arrested in Florida in October 2015, confirm MacDonald was aware her client was involved in the disappearance of her daughters – Samantha and Gianna Rucki.

MacDonald’s statements to Grazzini-Rucki, made while she was in an Osceola County Jail awaiting extradition to Minnesota, directly contradict MacDonald’s public statements about what she claimed both she and her client knew about the disappearance of the Rucki sisters.

Details from the conversations will be included in the upcoming book, “The Girls Are Gone” which is available for pre-sale now and will be released on October 23, 2018. The book also includes new information about the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki and the adults who conspired to keep the missing sisters and the truth hidden.

“The Girls Are Gone” also examines the connection between MacDonald, who is currently a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, and two people convicted for their roles in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters: Grazzini-Rucki and Dede Evavold. MacDonald was labeled a “person of interest” by the Lakeville Police Department in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki but did not cooperate in the investigation. Continue reading

Judge: Ristau involved in a ‘conspiracy to commit harassment’

A judge in Dakota County upheld the Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) granted against Diane Ristau by Michael Brodkorb and Sarah Brodkorb for Ristau’s involvement in surreptitiously obtaining and later distributing a photograph of Michael Brodkorb’s wife and minor children.

At the end of the three-hour court hearing at the Dakota County Western Service Center in Apple Valley, Minnesota, Judge M. Michael Baxter said Ristau was involved in a “conspiracy to commit harassment” when she took a picture of Ms. Brodkorb and her minor children while shopping and later distributed the picture to people connected to Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and Dede Evavold.

The photograph of Ms. Brodkorb with her minor children was distributed multiple times with false allegations on a social media account connected to Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and her supporters. The same social media account had been investigated by law enforcement for publishing threatening, harassing, and defamatory statements targeting judges, law enforcement, court staff, and journalists.

The HRO against Ristau remains in effect until September 25, 2020.

Beaudette caught lying about her connection to Grazzini-Rucki, admits she gave pictures to Angela Young

During the court hearing, it was disclosed Ristau took multiple photographs of Ms. Brodkorb and her minor children and provided information to people connected to Grazzini-Rucki and Evavold on the exact location of where the pictures were taken.

Carrie Beaudette, who received the photographs from Ms. Ristau, was subpoenaed to testify on Ms. Ristau’s behalf. During Beaudette’s testimony, she falsely claimed she had never been involved in Grazzini-Rucki’s legal cases. When Nathan Hansen, attorney for the Brodkorbs, showed Beaudette an affidavit signed by Beaudette involving one of Grazzini-Rucki’s legal case she then admitted helping Grazzini-Rucki while she was living with Angela Young in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Young is Evavold’s next door neighbor.

Beaudette also admitted that shared the pictures taken of Ms. Brodkorb and her minor children with both Dede Evavold and Angela Young. Beaudette said she had not told police about Young’s involvement when she spoke with them in August about the pictures.

Evavold working for new trials to ‘adversely affect sales’ of upcoming book

Dede Evavold, convicted of six felonies for her role in the disappearance of two sisters, is working to get new criminal trials for herself and her co-defendants – not because she claims innocence – but to “adversely affect sales” of an upcoming book which provides new details on the crimes she and others committed. 

Last week, Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann announced the upcoming release of their book, The Girls Are Gone which provides new details about the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki and the adults who conspired to keep the missing sisters and the truth hidden.

The book examines the events which led to Sandra Grazzini-Rucki abducting her daughters on April 19, 2013, during a custody dispute with her ex-husband, David Rucki. On November 18, 2015 –944 days after they disappeared – the girls were found living on a ranch in northern Minnesota by law enforcement, headed by the Lakeville Police Department.

In September 2016, Evavold was convicted of six felonies for her involvement in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki. Continue reading

UPDATE: Court hearing scheduled for sanctions against Michelle MacDonald

UPDATE (1:30 PM, Friday, September 7, 2018) – Monday’s court hearing in Ramsey County about Michelle MacDonald’s lawsuit has been canceled. A new court date has not been scheduled, but it will likely be in October or November.

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( July 24, 2018) – A court hearing has been scheduled in Ramsey County for September 10, 2018, about the Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions filed against Michelle MacDonald for filing the same “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit in two counties.

Nathan M. Hansen served MacDonald a Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions on June 26, 2018, in response to the “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit from MacDonald.

MacDonald was given 21 days to withdraw the lawsuit “with prejudice” or the Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions would be filed with the court. Since the lawsuit was not dismissed “with prejudice” within 21 days, Hansen filed the Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions against MacDonald in Ramsey County.

As detailed by Hansen in his memorandum, he spoke with MacDonald and she declined to dismiss the duplicate lawsuit filed in Ramsey County.

MacDonald is also facing sanctions in Dakota County, and she recently retained a new attorney. Continue reading

UPDATE: Dede Evavold released from jail…for now

UPDATE (4:05 PM, Tuesday, September 4, 2018) – Tomorrow’s court hearing has been canceled. It will be rescheduled for after Dede Evavold’s upcoming criminal trial on October 15, 2018, for violations of an HRO granted to protect David Rucki and his family from Evavold’s harassment.

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UPDATE (9:31 AM, Tuesday, September 4, 2018) – Dede Evavold is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow where a determination will be made if she has violated the conditions of her probation. The hearing was originally scheduled for June 6, 2018. The hearing is scheduled for 9 AM at the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings, Minnesota.

The post below from March has been update to reflect this change.

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( March 21, 2018) – Dede Evavold walked out of the Dakota County Jail this evening after Judge Kathleen Gearin permitted Evavold to be released from jail to remove the remaining online material about David Rucki, his children, and other members of the Rucki family published by Evavold which violates an Harassment Restraining Order.

Evavold has been in jail since Sunday after being arrested on an outstanding warrant.

Judge Gearin gave Evavold until Monday, March 26, 2018, at 4:30 PM to remove the remaining content or she is ordered to report to jail in Dakota County by 9 AM on March 27.

During today’s court hearing Lisa Elliott, the attorney for the Rucki family, agreed with comments made by Dede Evavold’s husband Darin that most of the content had been removed, but a small amount remains posted.

Darin Evavold brought Dede’s laptop computer to today’s court hearing, as he did for yesterday’s court hearing for his wife.

At the court hearing, Darin worked with Allison Mann, a paralegal from Elliott Law Offices to remove the additional content.

“We just want Ms. Evavold to stop harassing the [Rucki family],” said Elliott during today’s hearing.

Dede Evavold was present in the courtroom and she did not object while Darin worked with Mann to identify content that needed to be removed.

All parties agreed that Darin and Dede Evavold would stay in communication with Elliott’s office over the coming days to ensure Dede is in full compliance with the court’s order before Monday’s deadline.

Over the last two days, Darin Evavold has appeared visibly frustrated in court as he worked to remove the vast amount of online content published by his wife which landed her in jail.

This is why Elliott and Mann assisted Darin Evavold in removing the content, explained Mann.

“I have been monitoring the removal of content from Ms. Evavold’s blog and other social media accounts over the last two weeks,” said Allison Mann.

“At the start of today’s hearing, some of the content remained available online,” said Mann, who added, “Darin Evavold came to court today with his wife’s laptop so that he could delete anything that was left.”

Mann concluded, “our main goal has been and continues to be to stop the harassment of the Rucki family.” Continue reading

Restraining orders granted for distributing photograph of Michael Brodkorb’s family

A judge in Dakota County granted an Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) today against three people, including Dede Evavold, for their roles in surreptitiously obtaining and later distributing a photograph of Michael Brodkorb’s wife and minor children online.

The HROs were filed by Michael Brodkorb and Sarah Brodkorb in Dakota County against Diane Ristau of Medford, Carrie Beaudette of St. Joseph, and Dede Evavold of St. Cloud.

The photograph of Ms. Brodkorb with her minor children was distributed multiple times with false allegations on a social media account connected to Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and her supporters.

The same social media account had been investigated by law enforcement for publishing threatening, harassing, and defamatory statements targeting judges, law enforcement, court staff, and journalists.

The HROs remain in effect until August 30, 2020.  Continue reading

Minnesota Lawyer: Michelle MacDonald’s lawsuit ‘may lack factual basis’

The lawsuit filed by Michelle MacDonald against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota “may lack factual basis” according to an article published by Minnesota Lawyer.

Two of three key claims in lawyer Michelle MacDonald’s defamation lawsuit against Michael Brodkorb and his muckraking website appear unfounded, Minnesota Lawyer has learned.

Meanwhile Brodkorb, who accuses MacDonald of trying to squelch his First Amendment rights as a journalist, asserts that a third allegation in her suit also is factually inaccurate. Minnesota Lawyer could not independently verify that.

The article by Minnesota Lawyer exposes fundamental weaknesses in MacDonald’s lawsuit, which has been described as “frivolous and vexatious” by Nathan Hansen, the attorney for Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota. Continue reading

Dakota county judge dismisses lawsuit filed by Michelle MacDonald

Yesterday, a judge in Dakota County dismissed the “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit filed by Michelle MacDonald against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota. The court did not rule on a request for sanctions against MacDonald based on her conduct since the filing of the lawsuit. MacDonald also filed her lawsuit in Ramsey County and a hearing is scheduled for next month regarding sanctions against MacDonald.

MacDonald’s lawsuit filed in Ramsey County against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota remains active.

Last week, we published a story about the hearing held in Dakota County about MacDonald’s lawsuit.

MacDonald’s attorney Karlowba R. Adams Powell made numerous false statements in court last week and seemed unfamiliar with the messy procedural history created by MacDonald’s lawsuit. Adams Powell falsely claimed our attorney, Nathan Hansen filed duplicative pleadings in Dakota and Ramsey County. She also claimed Hansen was “harassing” MacDonald and accused him of “unprofessional conduct.”

Hansen corrected Adams Powell on her inaccurate statements in court.

Adams Powell is also facing possible sanctions for filing the same lawsuit in both Dakota and Ramsey County. A hearing has not been scheduled yet on the request for sanctions against Adams Powell.

Please follow Missing in Minnesota on Twitter and Facebook for updates on MacDonald’s lawsuit.

Allison Mann contributed to this story.

Court hearing held on sanctions against Michelle MacDonald

Judge Karen Asphaug heard arguments in a Dakota County courtroom today regarding the Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions filed against Michelle MacDonald in response to her lawsuit against me and Missing in Minnesota. Judge Asphaug said she would be making a decision before our hearing on September 10 in Ramsey County regarding sanctions against MacDonald.

MacDonald’s attorney Karlowba R. Adams Powell made numerous false statements in court today and seemed unfamiliar with the messy procedural history created by MacDonald’s lawsuit. Adams Powell falsely claimed our attorney, Nathan Hansen filed duplicative pleadings in Dakota and Ramsey County. She also claimed Hansen was “harassing” MacDonald and accused him of “unprofessional conduct.”

Hansen corrected Adams Powell on her inaccurate statements in court.

MacDonald declines to answer questions about her representation of Grazzini-Rucki

After the hearing, and in the presence of both our attorney and MacDonald’s attorney, I asked MacDonald a few questions in the front lobby of the Dakota County Judicial Center. Multiple deputies with the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office we present during our brief exchange. Ten days ago, I wrote on Twitter that I planned on asking MacDonald questions at the courthouse about the disappearance of the Rucki sisters. We were scheduled to interview MacDonald last November, but she abruptly canceled and refused to reschedule the interview. Continue reading

UPDATE: Court hearing scheduled for sanctions against Michelle MacDonald

UPDATE (1:00 PM, Wednesday, August 15, 2018) – Larry Frost is no longer serving as Michelle MacDonald’s supervising attorney involving her lawsuit. Tomorrow’s hearing will focus on sanctions against Michelle MacDonald. This post has been updated to reflect this change.

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A court hearing has been scheduled in Dakota County for August 9, 2018, about the Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions filed against Michelle MacDonald and her supervising attorney, Larry Frost, in response to MacDonald’s lawsuit.

Nathan M. Hansen served MacDonald and her supervising attorney, Larry A, Frost, a Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions on June 18, 2018, in response to the “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit from MacDonald.

MacDonald and Frost were given 21 days to withdraw the lawsuit “with prejudice” or the Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions would be filed with the court. Since the lawsuit was not dismissed “with prejudice” within 21 days, Hansen filed the Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions against MacDonald and Frost yesterday.

Continue reading

Judge calls Evavold’s harassment of Rucki family ‘evil’

A judge in Dakota County has upheld the Harassment Restraining Order requested by David Rucki and his daughter, Samantha Rucki, against Dede Evavold, describing Evavold’s threatening behavior toward the Rucki family as “evil.”

“In the 34+ years the undersigned has served as a District or Senior Judge, never have I seen a case that represents harassment most evil,” wrote Judge Philip Kanning in his order released yesterday. “The Respondent’s actions have been intended to terrify, threaten and invade the privacy of the Petitioner and his minor children,” adding Judge Kanning.

Evavold was convicted in September 2016 of six felonies for her role in the disappearance of Samantha Rucki and her sister Gianna, who were abducted near their home on Lakeville by their mother Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, during a custody and divorce proceeding.

On July 28, 2017, a court in Dakota County has found that “an immediate and present danger of harassment” by Evavold exists to warrant the granting of a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) requested by David Rucki and his daughter, Samantha Rucki, against Evavold

In the last year, Evavold has repeatedly violated the explicit terms of her probation and the HRO by continuing to reference the Rucki family in her use of social media. Evavold’s blog has posted pictures of the Rucki family, their home in Lakeville, and the address to the home, in violation of the HRO and the conditions of her probation. Continue reading