Posts tagged The Girls Are Gone

MacDonald begins fourth campaign for MN Supreme Court

UPDATE (4:04 PM, Friday, December 13, 2019) – This story has been updated to include confirmation from Justice Paul Thissen’s campaign that he will stand for election to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2020. 

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Michelle MacDonald launched her candidacy today for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2020, just hours after her attorney argued in court that she wasn’t a public figure because she wasn’t a candidate for public office.

During oral arguments at the Minnesota Court of Appeals MacDonald’s attorney, Karlowba R. Adams Powell, told the three judges who were hearing MacDonald’s appeal that since MacDonald was not a candidate for office, she was not a public figure.

But within hours after the hearing ended, MacDonald’s Twitter profile was updated to encourage people to “Vote for Michelle MacDonald for Justice in 2020…”

This is MacDonald’s fourth campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court. MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate in 2018, having previously lost two bids for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016. Since 2014, MacDonald has maintained an active campaign committee and website to promote her candidacy.

Today’s activity by MacDonald on social media is the first public campaigning she has specifically done for her fourth campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court since announcing in July through an unrelated lawsuit that she planned to run for office “in 2020 and in the future.”

MacDonald will likely face Justice Paul Thissen, who was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court by Governor Mark Dayton in 2018. Thissen has not made a formal announcement that he will seek election to the Minnesota Supreme court, but a representative of his campaign committee confirmed on Friday he will run for election in 2020.

MacDonald’s legal work examined in an award-winning true crime book

An examination of MacDonald’s legal work was detailed in the book, The Girls Are Gone which was 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 explores the connection between MacDonald and two people convicted for their roles in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters: Sandra 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.

Since being released in October 2018,  The Girls Are Gone has been a commercial and critical success. In April, Brodkorb and Allison Mann were awarded a 2019 Independent Publisher Book AwardThe Kindle Edition of The Girls Are Gone has appeared on multiple “best seller” lists by AmazonThe Girls Are Gone is published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing.

In October, Brodkorb and Mann released an audiobook of The Girls Are Gone, which was produced at Studio AmericanaThe Girls Are Gone is available for sale through numerous retailers in audiobook, paperback, and ebook.

Court affirms ruling that MacDonald “knowingly violated” campaign law

In September 2017, the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed a ruling from the Office of Administrative Hearings that MacDonald “knowingly violated” campaign law when she falsely claimed she was endorsed by a non-existent Republican organization during her 2016 campaign.

In December 2016, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) ruled against MacDonald and also imposed a $500 civil penalty for violating the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act.

The initial complaint against MacDonald was filed by Barbara Linert of Eagan and Steve Timmer of Edina.

MacDonald being investigated by lawyers board because of her lawsuit

MacDonald is currently being investigated by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility for alleged violations of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys.

The over 16-month investigation into the alleged violations by MacDonald was opened after Missing in Minnesota filed a formal complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility weeks 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.

The lawsuit filed by MacDonald against Missing in Minnesota was dismissed in March by a judge in Ramsey County. MacDonald is appealing the dismissal of the lawsuit.

Complaint alleges lawsuit filed by MacDonald was frivolous and violates an Order from Minnesota Supreme Court

The Minnesota Supreme Court suspended MacDonald’s law license for 60 days last year and she remains on probation for two years in response to an attorney complaint filed against MacDonald in August 2016.

The conditions of MacDonald’s two-year probation included that she will be supervised by an attorney appointed by the Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

MacDonald is prohibited from engaging in “the solo practice of law,” and she must “work in a setting where she is in daily contact with, and under the direct supervision of another Minnesota licensed attorney.”

Complaint alleges MacDonald’s lawsuit contained false statements and she knowingly lied to the Eagan Police Department in making a false report

In her lawsuit, MacDonald claimed she filed a police report against Brodkorb on May 24 and June 11, 2018, regarding a booking photo published on Missing in Minnesota. MacDonald is suing in part over the publication of the booking photo from her arrest during a court hearing involving Sandra Grazzini-Rucki on September 12, 2013.

In response to a public data request, the Eagan Police Department provided a police report from May 24, 2018, but they could not find a report filed by MacDonald on  June 11, 2018.

According to the police report from May 24, 2018, provided by the Eagan Police Department, MacDonald told police that Brodkorb took a picture of MacDonald in public, doctored it to look like a mugshot and uploaded it to a mugshot website.

The Eagan Police Department investigated MacDonald’s claims and found them unfounded. The report states: “the photo turned out to be a valid public booking photo.” In fact on October 20, 2016, MacDonald testified under oath at her own deposition and acknowledged the existence of the booking photo that she falsely claimed to police Brodkorb created

Please follow Missing in Minnesota on Twitter and Facebook for updates on MacDonald’s latest campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Appeals court hears oral arguments on Thursday on MacDonald’s lawsuit

The Minnesota Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on Thursday about Michelle MacDonald’s appeal of the dismissal of her lawsuit against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota. Arguments will be heard at 10:05 AM in Courtroom 200 of the Minnesota Judicial Center.

In March, Ramsey County Judge Richard H. Kyle, Jr. granted the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota in October. Judge Kyle ruled MacDonald was a public figure and that the statements made by Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota “were either true or lack the requisite showing of actual malice…”

MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018, having previously lost two bids for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016. MacDonald announced in July through an unrelated lawsuit that she “plans to run for office in 2020 and in the future.”

Click here to read the court filings related to MacDonald’s lawsuit.  Continue reading

Evavold’s criminal trial scheduled for March

A judge in Dakota County scheduled Dede Evavold’s criminal trial for March 23, 2020, on a criminal charge of violating a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) filed against her by Michael Brodkorb. Evavold was charged in May after she attempted to contact Brodkorb for assistance in restarting her blog after WordPress suspended it for violating their terms of service.

Evavold’s criminal trial was scheduled during a hearing today at the Dakota County Northern Service Center in West St. Paul, Minnesota. An evidentiary hearing was also scheduled for February 28, 2020.

Brodkorb was granted an HRO against Evavold last year for her involvement in surreptitiously obtaining and later distributing a photograph of Brodkorb’s wife and minor children online.

Michael and Sarah Brodkorb filed the HROs in Dakota County against Diane Ristau of Medford, Carrie Beaudette of St. Joseph, and Evavold, who lives in 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.

Evavold requested a court hearing to challenge the granting of the HRO, but a judge later upheld the HRO ruling that Evavold “was involved in the chain of events that led to repeated harassment of [Sarah Brodkorb] and her minor children.”

The HRO against Evavold remains in place until November 19, 2020.

Evavold is currently on probation related to her criminal conviction in September 2016 of six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights related to the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki. A conviction in this criminal case would likely trigger a probation violation and jail time for Evavold. 

Accompanying Evavold to the courthouse again was Margaret Starry, who is a supporter of Evavold and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki. Before the hearing started, Starry was seen taking pictures of Brodkorb as he waited by the courtroom door. Evavold was overheard saying to Starry, “did you take a picture?” to which Starry responded, “yes.”

Court deputies and staff at the courthouse were made aware of the pictures that were taken near the courtroom. If and when the pictures appear online, follow-up steps will be taken by law enforcement. Continue reading

Fifth printing ordered of ‘The Girls Are Gone’

Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann announced today that the fifth printing of their award-winning book The Girls Are Gone has been ordered.

Since being released in October 2018,  The Girls Are Gone has been a commercial and critical success. In April, Brodkorb and Allison Mann were awarded a 2019 Independent Publisher Book AwardThe Kindle Edition of The Girls Are Gone has appeared on multiple “best seller” lists by AmazonThe Girls Are Gone is published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing.

Last month Brodkorb and Mann released an audiobook of The Girls Are Gone, which was produced at Studio Americana.

The Girls Are Gone is available for sale through numerous retailers in audiobook, paperback, and ebook.

Brodkorb and Mann have appeared at over 40 events for their book in the last few months, and more book events will be announced in the coming weeks.

Evavold makes second court appearance on restraining order violation

Dede Evavold made her second court appearance involving a criminal charge of violating a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) filed against her in Dakota County by Michael Brodkorb. Evavold was charged in May after she attempted to contact Brodkorb for assistance in restarting her blog after WordPress suspended it for violating their terms of service.

During a brief court hearing at the Dakota County Northern Service Center in West St. Paul, Minnesota, Evavold requested a formal complaint be filed related to the criminal charge. The prosecutor agreed to have a formal complaint drafted within 30 days and a pre-trial hearing was scheduled for December 3, 2019. Evavold was arranged in July.

Brodkorb was granted an HRO against Evavold last year for her involvement in surreptitiously obtaining and later distributing a photograph of Brodkorb’s wife and minor children online.

Michael and Sarah Brodkorb filed the HROs in Dakota County against Diane Ristau of Medford, Carrie Beaudette of St. Joseph, and Evavold, who lives in 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.

Evavold requested a court hearing to challenge the granting of the HRO, but a judge later upheld the HRO ruling that Evavold “was involved in the chain of events that led to repeated harassment of [Sarah Brodkorb] and her minor children.”

The HRO against Evavold remains in place until November 19, 2020.

Evavold is currently on probation related to her criminal conviction in September 2016 of six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights related to the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki.

In the courtroom yesterday with Evavold was Margaret Starry, who lives in Sartell, Minnesota. Starry is a supporter of Evavold and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki. In January, Starry unsuccessfully tried to disrupt a book event in St. Cloud, Minnesota featuring Brodkorb and Allison Mann.

In response to a threating message on Twitter in July, Starry was instructed to stop attempting to make contact. Despite being instructed to stop making contact, Starry was actively attacking Brodkorb on social media in the days leading up to yesterday’s hearing and trying again to make contact. Continue reading

One-year ‘bookiversary’ of ‘The Girls Are Gone’

Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann celebrated the one-year “bookiversary” of their award-winning book The Girls Are Gone by highlighting the key events of last year today. In a series of tweets this afternoon, Brodkorb and Mann announced 10,000 copies of The Girls Are Gone have been sold across all platforms in the past year.

As detailed by Brodkorb, a paperback and ebook were released last year, and an audiobook was released earlier this month.

“The past year has been exciting and humbling for both Allison Mann and myself,” said Michael Brodkorb. “We are continually thankful to everyone that helped make this possible,” added Brodkorb.

Since being released last October,  The Girls Are Gone has been a commercial and critical success. In April, Brodkorb and Allison Mann were awarded a 2019 Independent Publisher Book AwardBrodkorb and Mann announced in July that the fourth printing of their book had been ordered.

Brodkorb and Mann have appeared at nearly 40 events for their book in the last few months, and more book events will be announced later this week.

The Kindle Edition of The Girls Are Gone has appeared on multiple “best seller” lists by AmazonThe Girls Are Gone is published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing.”

“It has been amazing to see this story reach so many people,” said Allison Mann. “Hearing from readers about their personal experiences and those of their loved ones has made it even more clear how important it was to write this book,” added Mann.

 

15-month investigation by lawyers board into MacDonald continues

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

The investigation into the alleged violations by MacDonald was opened over 15 months ago after Missing in Minnesota filed a formal complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in response to MacDonald filing a “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit against Missing in Minnesota, which appeared to be in violation of an Order of the Minnesota Supreme Court which details the conditions by which MacDonald is allowed to practice law.

The lawsuit filed by MacDonald against Missing in Minnesota was dismissed in March by a judge in Ramsey County. MacDonald is appealing the dismissal of the lawsuit.

MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018, having previously lost two bids for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016. Continue reading

Wednesday: ABC’s ’20/20′ episode about Grazzini-Rucki

Tomorrow, October 16, 2019, at 10 AM (CST), Investigative Discovery (ID) will be broadcasting the episode of ABC’s “20/20” discussed in the award-winning true crime book,  The Girls Are Gone.

The episode about Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, called “Footprints in the Snow” was first broadcast on April 8, 2016, and was later rebroadcast on March 25, 2017. The episode has since been rebroadcast on multiple television networks over the last two years.

Grazzini-Rucki had tried to stop the rebroadcasts 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.

In April 2017, Grazzini-Rucki announced she would be filing a defamation lawsuit against ABC, Inc, ABC’s “20/20”, and Elizabeth Vargas, the co-anchor of “20/20”. Grazzini-Rucki claimed she would be seeking “an ungodly amount” of money in her latest lawsuit, but the lawsuit was never filed. Continue reading

‘The Girls Are Gone’ audiobook available for sale

Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann announced today that the audiobook of their award-winning book – The Girls Are Goneis now available for sale. The audiobook not only shares the story of the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki but also includes a rare gem in the audiobook universe: never-before-heard audio.

“We really wanted to find a way to bring something fresh to the audiobook,” said Michael Brodkorb. “Adding real-life interviews into the recording brings a new dimension for fans who’ve already read the book, and an interesting twist for our new fans,” added Brodkorb.

The audiobook of The Girls Are Gone is available today on Audible, Amazon, and Apple. Additional platforms will be announced in the coming days. Continue reading

MN Supreme Court referee: ‘indefinitely’ suspend MacDonald’s lawyer

A judicial referee appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court has recommended that Karlowba R. Adams Powell, who serves as Michelle MacDonald’s attorney in her lawsuit against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota, should be “indefinitely suspended” from the practice of law.

The recommendation by Judge Richard C. Perkins comes after a two-day hearing was held in July about a petition filed last December with the Minnesota Supreme Court by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

In the petition, the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility requested a court order revoking Adams Powell’s probation, suspending her law license, or “imposing otherwise appropriate discipline…” based on “unprofessional conduct” by Adams Powell. The petition claimed Adams Powell made false statements to the court, and others, including staff with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, that she engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, that she failed to provide receipts for cash payments, and that she failed to “safeguard client funds.”

According to today’s court filing, this is the fourth disciplinary proceeding for “professional misconduct” involving Adams Powell.

Judge Perkins was blunt in describing Adams Powell’s lack of candor: “[w]hile a misstatement made only once may be a mistake, being stated in writing twice and the again under oath at a deposition demonstrates a disregard for the truth.”

In the final pages, Judge Perkins wrote that Adams Powell “refused to acknowledge her misconduct, exhibited no remorse for her misconduct, and failed to offer any evidence or assurance that she will not engage in similar future misconduct.” Judge Perkin’s added that “[i]n a case about candor to a court … [Adams Powell] displayed a lack of candor with this court during her own testimony.” Continue reading