Sandra Grazzini-Rucki announced last evening that she will be filing a defamation lawsuit against ABC, Inc, ABC’s “20/20”, and Elizabeth Vargas, the co-anchor of “20/20”.
Grazzini-Rucki’s announcement of the lawsuit comes one year after ABC’s “20/20” first broadcast of “Footprints in the Snow”, which focused on the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki. On March 25, 2017, ABC’s “20/20” rebroadcast the episode with updated information.
The sisters were taken by their mother near their home on the night of April 19, 2013, during a custody and divorce dispute involving their parents – Grazzini-Rucki and David Rucki.
Grazzini-Rucki had tried to stop the rebroadcast of the episode which found no documentation to verify Grazzini-Rucki’s claim that she was abused by David Rucki. Grazzini-Rucki had taken to Facebook, calling the show “rank propaganda”and encouraging people to register complaints.
Public court records show that in the last ten years, Grazzini-Rucki has filed over 20 unsuccessful lawsuits in district, state, and federal court, including two petitions to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Grazzini-Rucki said last evening that she would be seeking “an ungodly amount” of money in her latest lawsuit.
Grazzini-Rucki caught lying on “20/20”
During “Footprints in the Snow”, Vargas confronted Grazzini-Rucki about her pattern of lying, specifically about her claim that she hadn’t seen her daughters in years.
“Well, all I’m telling you is you sat right here and spent half an hour telling me you hadn’t seen or spoken to your daughters. And I’ve now spoken to three people who tell us, in fact, that’s a lie. So if you were lying to me about that, what else might you be lying to me about?“
Vargas was correct to confront Grazzini-Rucki about her extensive record of lying and making false allegations.
During her criminal trial, Grazzini-Rucki testified that she had been repeatedly “dishonest” when she previously testified under oath in her divorce and custody proceeding with her ex-husband, David Rucki.
Since being convicted in July 2016 on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights, Grazzini-Rucki and her supporters have continued their behavior of making false allegations against David Rucki, his family, the media, law enforcement, and the judiciary.
A page was published on Missing in Minnesota to provide verifiable facts and primary source documents to refute false statements and fabricated incidents made by Grazzini-Rucki and her supporters.
ABC’s “20/20” found no evidence to support Grazzini-Rucki’s claims of abuse
Grazzini-Rucki was married to David Rucki in 1991. 19 years later, Grazzini-Rucki filed for divorce. In her initial petition for divorce, Grazzini-Rucki made no allegations of abuse against David Rucki, nor did she claim David Rucki abused their children.
It was only after the initial divorce decree was dismissed “based on fraud and misrepresentation by [Grazzini-Rucki], among other reasons” did Grazzini-Rucki start accusing David Rucki of abusing her, and their children.
To date, David Rucki has never been criminally charged with abuse against Grazzini-Rucki or any of their children, nor has any credible or verifiable allegation of abuse been made against David Rucki.
During the airing of the episode of ABC’s “20/20” focused on the disappearance of her daughters, Grazzini-Rucki repeated the false allegations that she has made in the past about David Rucki.
Later in the show, ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas said they found no evidence to support Grazzini-Rucki’s claims.
After the show was broadcast last April, 20/20 released the following statement via Facebook about Grazzini-Rucki’s allegation of abuse:
IN RESPONSE TO FRIDAY’S #ABC2020 BROADCAST: The police reports that have been posted refer to alleged incidents after Sandra filed for divorce. 20/20 obtained all of these police reports from the Lakeville Police months ago and carefully reviewed them, prior to our visit to Michelle MacDonald’s office. As we stated in our report on Friday night, Lakeville police has “no record of ever being contacted by Sandra about abuse during her marriage.” In our interview with Sandra Grazzini-Rucki , she repeatedly claimed there were photographs and police reports from before she filed for divorce to prove her allegations of physical abuse. To this date, neither she nor the Lakeville Police department have produced documentation to support those claims. As we stated in our report, after filing for divorce, Sandra “gets an order of protection against David, and then calls police on him at least 20 times.” He was charged with violating the order of protection for contacting Sandra’s neighbor, but none of her allegations of abuse resulted in any charges.
As noted above, the Lakeville police department has said that they have no record of ever being contacted by Grazzini-Rucki about abuse during her marriage to David Rucki.
ABC’s “20/20” and Vargas targeted by Grazzini-Rucki and her supporters on social media
After Grazzini-Rucki announced her lawsuit last evening, Twitter accounts connected to Grazzini-Rucki and her supporters began to target “20/20” and Vargas with a flood of derogatory and harassing tweets. Grazzini-Rucki and her supporters continue to use a variety of social media platforms to launch vicious and unsubstantiated personal attacks on numerous people Grazzini-Rucki and her supporters believe are connected the courts, law enforcement, or her ex-husband.
As previously documented, Grazzini-Rucki’s disdain for law enforcement and the court system has become more flagrant, her rhetoric more incendiary, and her behavior increasingly dangerous, since being released from jail last October.
Last month, Grazzini-Rucki announced that she and others will be targeting the family members of judges, attorneys, and county staff, including their children. The alarming comments from Grazzini-Rucki were made during her podcast which she hosted with a man convicted of threatening to shoot a judge.
Missing for 944 days
On November 18, 2015 – 944 days after they disappeared – the Rucki sisters were found living on a Dahlen’s ranch by law enforcement, headed by the Lakeville Police Department. In total, the sisters were held at the White Horse Ranch for 942 days.
David Rucki was awarded full custody of all five of his children in November 2013, while two of his daughters remained missing. David Rucki was reunited with his daughters days after they were found on a rural ranch in northern Minnesota. They live with him and their other siblings at the family’s home in Lakeville.
The Dakota County Attorney’s Office charged four adults for their involvement in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters for 944 days.
Grazzini-Rucki was convicted in July 2016 on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights.
Evavold was found guilty in September on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights related to the disappearance the girls.
The owners of the White Horse Ranch, Doug and Gina Dahlen, each pleaded guilty in January to one count of deprivation of parental rights for their role in the disappearance of two sisters. The Dahlens will both be sentenced on May 2, 2017, at the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings. Their ranch is currently for sale.