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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Michelle MacDonald. Picture source: Michelle MacDonald

But when specifically asked by David Asp, a member of Republican Party of Minnesota’s Judicial Elections Committee, if any other complaints had been filed against her, MacDonald said “nope, I’ve never had a complaint before that, never, ever, ever for all these years. I never had a complaint.”

MacDonald has been the subject of at least one complaint against her in the past.

According to information contained in a new complaint filed against MacDonald in August, MacDonald was disciplined by the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board in 2012 for “for failing to deposit settlement proceeds into a trust account, failing to maintain proper trust account books and records, failing to promptly deliver funds to a client, failing in her duty to be responsible for the conduct of a non-lawyer and failing to cooperate with the Director’s investigation…”

Harry Niska, a member of Republican Party of Minnesota Judicial Elections Committee, who along with Asp helped ensure MacDonald was not endorsed again by Republicans said today he isn’t surprised by MacDonald’s dishonesty.

“Sadly, I am not surprised to learn that Michelle MacDonald was less than honest in our interview with her,” said Niska, who added, “this entire episode is yet another reminder of how wholly unfit she is for judicial office.”

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Harry Niska. Picture source: Harry Niska

MacDonald did not respond to specific questions today as to why she did not disclose she was admonished by the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board in 2012.

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. But after a presentation by Niska at the Republican Party of Minnesota’s State Convention in May, the convention voted not to endorse judicial candidates.

Even though MacDonald was not endorsement by Republicans, MacDonald filed to run for the Minnesota Supreme Court against Justice Natalie Hudson. On August 9, MacDonald finished in a distant second place with just over 20 percent of the vote in the primary election and while face Hudson in the general election in November.

Hudson, who received over 60 percent of the vote in the primary election, is considered the heavy favorite to win re-election.

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