The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility’s investigation into alleged violations by Michelle MacDonald of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys has entered its tenth month, according to a letter from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.
The ten-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 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.
The lawsuit filed by MacDonald against Missing in Minnesota was dismissed last month by a judge in Ramsey County.
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.
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 The Girls Are Gone has been a commercial and critical success. Last week, Brodkorb and Allison Mann were awarded a 2019 Independent Publisher Book Award. Brodkorb and Mann announced last month that the third printing of their book had been ordered.
The Kindle Edition of The Girls Are Gone has appeared on multiple “best seller” lists by Amazon. Brodkorb and Mann have appeared at over 25 events for their book in the last few months, and more book events in Minnesota and other states will be announced in the next week.
Complaint alleges lawsuit filed by MacDonald is 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 contains 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.
Michelle MacDonald’s lawyer also facing additional discipline
Karlowba R. Adams Powell, who serves as MacDonald’s attorney in her lawsuit against Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota, is facing new sanctions from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.
As previously reported by Missing in Minnesota, Adams Powell’s law license was suspended last year for 45 days. As with MacDonald, Adams Powell is currently on probation for 2 years. Minnesota Lawyer was the first to report on the new petition filed against Adams Powell.
In the petition filed with the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility is requesting 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 claims 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.”
Allison Mann contributed to this story.