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Minnesota Supreme Court denies Dede Evavold and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki petitions

The Minnesota Supreme Court has denied the petitions filed by Deirdre “Dede” Evavold and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki to review their criminal convictions for their role in the disappearance of two of Grazzini-Rucki’s children.

On April 19, 2013, Samantha and Gianna Rucki disappeared during a custody and divorce dispute involving their parents – Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and David Rucki.

Grazzini-Rucki’s petition was denied last week by the Minnesota Supreme Court, and Evavold’s petition was denied in an order released this morning.

Evavold’s legal troubles are not over, as her criminal trial for her continued violations of a Harassment Restraining Order granted by a court in Dakota County to protect David Rucki and his family from her harassment is scheduled for April 23, 2018. Continue reading

MacDonald files to run for the Minnesota Supreme Court

Michelle MacDonald, who was labeled a “person of interest” in the disappearance of missing children, and is facing discipline for multiple violations of the rules governing licensed attorneys, filed today to run for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014, 2016, and 2018. In December, MacDonald started her fourth campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court. Despite MacDonald facing serious discipline and the likely suspension of her law license, MacDonald can still run for the Minnesota Supreme Court. Continue reading

Lawyers board to MN Supreme Court: discipline MacDonald

The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to discipline Michelle MacDonald after determining MacDonald violated the conditions of her probation by which she can practice law and the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys.

The petition comes after the completion of a 21-month investigation into MacDonald, which began after Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann filed a formal complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in June 2018 in response to MacDonald filing a lawsuit against Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota. The lawsuit filed by MacDonald was dismissed in March 2019 by a judge in Ramsey County.

MacDonald appealed the dismissal of her lawsuit to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, but the Court ruled against MacDonald last month. Continue reading

Minnesota Court of Appeals rules against MacDonald

In a ruling that is being described as a win for “press freedoms,” the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Michelle MacDonald against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota.

In March 2019, 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…”

In a published opinion released this morning, the Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed with the decision by Judge Kyle to dismiss MacDonald’s lawsuit last year.

The Minnesota Court of Appeal ruled “MacDonald failed to provide evidence creating any genuine dispute of material fact” and MacDonald “was a public figure at the relevant times” during the lawsuit. Further, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that “[s]tatements suggesting unethical, improper, or illegal behavior by a candidate for judicial office relate to the contest and qualifications for the office.”

MacDonald has 30 days to petition the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the opinion released today by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Continue reading

Minnesota Supreme Court hears allegations against MacDonald’s attorney tomorrow

The Minnesota Supreme Court will have a hearing tomorrow on allegations that Karlowba Adams Powell, who serves as Michelle MacDonald’s attorney in her lawsuit against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota, violated numerous rules governing licensed attorneys in Minnesota.

Last September, a referee appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court determined that Adams Powell made numerous false statements, engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, failed to cooperate with her supervised probation, and violated her probation and suspension orders.

The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility wants Adams Powell to be suspended from practicing law for 6 months. Adams Powell’s attorney, State Senator Bobby Joe Champion,  acknowledges her “lapses in judgment” and is offering a 60-day suspension.

This is the fourth disciplinary proceeding involving professional misconduct for Adams Powell.

Tomorrow’s hearing will be live-streamed by the Minnesota Supreme Court at 10 AMContinue reading

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 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. Continue reading

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

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

MacDonald isn’t ruling out run for Minnesota Supreme Court in 2020

Michelle MacDonald, who was labeled a “person of interest” in the disappearance of missing children and is currently under investigation by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, is not ruling out a fourth run for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2020. Last week, MacDonald was defeated by Associate Justice Margaret Chutich in her third failed campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

News that MacDonald had not ruled out another run for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2020 was first reported by Steve Timmer, who contacted MacDonald to inquire about her running again.

After losing her third statewide election, the news that MacDonald has not ruled out another run for the Minnesota Supreme Court is shocking.

While MacDonald did receive 825,779 votes last week, she 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 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 Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility was notified last month about MacDonald repeating the same allegations against Judge David Knutson that were described as “recklessly false” by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Continue reading

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

Video shows MacDonald and Evavold partying at GOP State Convention

A recently uncovered video shows Michelle MacDonald partying with her then campaign chair and manager Dede Evavold at the 2014 Republican Party of Minnesota State Convention, during the time Evavold was actively concealing the whereabouts of two missing sisters.

At the time of this video, Evavold was working on MacDonald’s 2014 campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Last week, MacDonald filed again to run for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Evavold was convicted in September 2016 on six counts of felony deprivation of parental rights involving the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki.

The girls’ mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, abducted her daughters during a divorce and custody dispute with her ex-husband, David Rucki.

Grazzini-Rucki was also convicted of six felonies for her role in the disappearance of her daughters.

MacDonald served as Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney and briefly represented her during her criminal trial. Continue reading

Deja vu: Michelle MacDonald running again for Minnesota Supreme Court

Michelle MacDonald, who was labeled a “person of interest” in the disappearance of missing children, filed to run again for the Minnesota Supreme Court, despite being on supervised probation as an attorney.

MacDonald filed to run against Justice Margaret Chutich, who was appointed by Governor Mark Dayton to the Minnesota Supreme Court in March 2016.

She first attempted to file to run for the Minnesota Supreme Court under a new political party but was denied because judicial elections are nonpartisan.

Justice Margaret Chutich

MacDonald previously ran twice unsuccessfully for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016.

MacDonald’s law license was just “conditionally reinstated” by the Minnesota Supreme Court in March, subject to her completion of the written portion of the Bar exam “on the subject of professional responsibility…”

She remains on supervised probation for two years with numerous conditions limiting her practice of law which could limit her ability to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court if elected.

The Associated Press reported that House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said “ugh” after MacDonald confirmed she was running for office again.

According to the most recent campaign finance reports, MacDonald had $31.70 in her campaign bank account and debts of $8,825.12.

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Dede Evavold may have violated her probation again

Dede Evavold, who may have her probation revoked next month, may have violated her probation again by having contact with co-defendant Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.

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 Grazzini-Rucki, during a custody and divorce proceeding.

Evavold’s probation conditions specifically restrict contact with “Co-Defendant(s), Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, Gina Dahlen and Douglas Dahlen.”

On May 10, 2018, the United States Supreme Court docketed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari filed on behalf of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki regarding the contested child support matter stemming from her divorce from David Rucki. Continue reading

Dede Evavold creates confusion over jail sentence

Dede Evavold was not required to report to jail today, despite Evavold herself publishing documents which claimed she was scheduled to serve 15 days in jail starting on April 19, 2018, and continuing each April 19 until 2023.

Evavold created the confusion last year when she published documents which detailed her scheduled for reporting to jail for the next six years related to her felony convictions 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.

After reviewing court documents which conflicted with Evavold’s claims, court staff at the Dakota County Judicial Center was able to verify that the information posted by Evavold was incorrect and she was not required to report to jail today.

Dede Evavold (in white) sits in the front row of the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee next to Michelle MacDonald (in red) on April 17, 2018.
Dede Evavold (in white) sits in the front row of the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee next to Michelle MacDonald (in red) on April 17, 2018.

In a bizarre unrelated development, Evavold attended a public committee hearing of the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this week. Evavold was seen on public television sitting and chatting with Michelle MacDonald, who is Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney.

Evavold served as MacDonald’s campaign chair and manager during MacDonald’s unsuccessful bid for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014.

MacDonald’s law license was “conditionally reinstated” in the last few weeks by the Minnesota Supreme Court after her license was suspended related to her conduct while serving as Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney and her legal representation of Joseph Francis D’Costa. Continue reading

Michelle MacDonald’s law license suspended by Minnesota Supreme Court

The Minnesota Supreme Court has suspended Michelle MacDonald’s law license for a minimum of 60 days, and she will be on supervised probation in response to an attorney complaint filed against MacDonald in August 2016.

A judicial referee appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court recommended last year that MacDonald’s law license be suspended for a minimum of 60 days, followed by two years of probation, which would include a mental health evaluation.

But the final order from the Minnesota Supreme Court did not include a mental health evaluation which triggered Associate Justice Anne McKeig to dissent in part from the court’s decision.

The conditions of MacDonald’s two-year probation include that her probation 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.”

The order from the Minnesota Supreme court states that the “attorney who directly supervises [MacDonald’s] work must co-sign all pleadings, briefs, and other court documents that respondent files. This attorney may not be an associate who works for respondent’s law firm. Any attorney or law firm with whom she practices shall be informed of the terms of this probation.”

MacDonald did not respond to a request for comment on the order from the Minnesota Supreme Court.

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