Posts by Michael Brodkorb

MacDonald announces fifth campaign for Supreme Court

Michelle MacDonald, who was labeled a “person of interest” in the disappearance of missing children and is facing discipline by the Minnesota Supreme Court, said she will be a candidate again for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2022.

MacDonald announced her campaign earlier this month during a worship service at Shiloh Temple International Ministries in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This is MacDonald’s fifth campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court. MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate in 2020, having previously lost three bids for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014, 2018, and 2018. Since 2014, MacDonald has maintained an active campaign committee and website to promote her candidacy.

MacDonald will likely face Associate Justice Gordon Moore, who was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2020. Moore has not made a formal announcement that he will seek election to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2022.

Aside from being a repeat candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, MacDonald notes on the website for her law firm that she “aspires to be a United States Supreme Court Justice.” MacDonald asked then-President Donald Trump to nominate her to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in late-September 2020. Trump later nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg

In October 2020, a judicial referee appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court determined MacDonald “caused harm to both the public and legal profession” that warrant MacDonald being placed on supervised probation. Continue reading

Court: Evavold liable for nearly $6 million in damages

A court in Dakota County has ruled that Dede Evavold is liable for nearly six million dollars in damages to David Rucki, and his daughters Samantha Rucki and Gianna Rucki, for Evavold’s involvement in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna.

Evavold was convicted in September 2016 of six felonies for her role in the disappearance of Samantha and her sister Gianna, who were abducted near their home in Lakeville, Minnesota, by their mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, during a custody and divorce proceeding.

In November 2017, Evavold was sued in civil court in Dakota County by David, Samantha, and Gianna, for numerous damages related to her crimes.

Judge Jerome Abrams ordered last week that Evavold “negligently and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on David Rucki, Samantha Rucki, and Gianna Rucki.” As a result, Judge Abrams awarded David, Samantha, and Gianna damages against Evavold, totaling $5,760,927.

Evavold, Grazzini-Rucki, and Doug, and Gina Dahlen were each criminally charged and convicted for their roles in Samantha and Gianna’s disappearance. A civil lawsuit filed by David, Samantha, and Gianna, against the Dahlens and their church was settled in September 2018. The terms of the settlement were not made public.

David Rucki awarded $1 million in damages for defamation by Evavold

After being released from jail, Evavold repeatedly violated the explicit terms of her probation and the HRO by continuing to reference the Rucki family in her use of social media. Evavold’s blog posted pictures of the Rucki family, their home in Lakeville, and the address to the home, in violation of the HRO and the conditions of her probation.

Judge Abrams ruled that Evavold’s post “meet the definition of defamation…” and that she wrote “or re-posted articles by others making vicious and untrue statements about David Rucki…”

David was awarded $3,379,019 in damages, of which $1 million was allocated for defamation by Evavold.

Evavold’s criminal trial scheduled for February

Aside from now being liable for over $5.7 million in damages to the Rucki family, Evavold will also be in criminal court next month.

Evavold criminal trial for violating a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) filed against her by Michael Brodkorb is scheduled for February. She was charged in May 2019 after she attempted to contact Brodkorb to restart her blog after WordPress suspended it for violating their terms of service.

Evavold is currently on probation related to her criminal conviction in 2016. A conviction in this criminal case would likely trigger a probation violation and jail time for Evavold. 

The harassment by Evavold and others is detailed in the award-winning true crime book The Girls Are Gonewhich was written by Brodkorb and Allison Mann.

Please follow Missing in Minnesota on Twitter and Facebook for updates on the legal developments.

Evavold’s criminal trial scheduled for February

A judge in Dakota County scheduled Dede Evavold’s criminal trial for February 22, 2021, on a criminal charge of violating a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) filed against her by Michael Brodkorb. Evavold was charged in May 2019 after she attempted to contact Brodkorb for assistance in restarting her blog after WordPress suspended it for violating their terms of service.

Judge Dannia L. Edwards denied an attempt by Evavold to have the criminal charge dismissed. In an order issued on December 2, Judge Edwards wrote: “that there is probable cause to believe that [Evavold] committed the offense and that it is fair and reasonable for [Evavold] to stand trial on the charge…”

Brodkorb was granted an HRO against Evavold in August 2018 for her involvement in surreptitiously obtaining and later distributing a photograph of Brodkorb’s wife and minor children online. Continue reading

Sales of ‘The Girls Are Gone’ pass 30,000 copies

Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann announced total sales for their award-winning book The Girls Are Gone have passed 30,000 copies across all platforms.

The best-selling true-crime book provides new details about the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki and the adults – including their mother Sandra Grazzini-Rucki – who conspired to keep the missing sisters and the truth hidden.

“As an author, knowing your words are traveling far and wide is truly incredible,” said Mann. “The Girls Are Gone is a powerful story – it is clear in the numbers that readers are connecting with this story,” added Mann.

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.

Brodkorb and Mann analyzed court documents, reviewed investigative files, and conducted numerous interviews to provide a completed story about how and why two children vanished from their family and friends for 944 days. The Girls Are Gone includes interviews with members of the Rucki family, including exclusive interviews with Samantha and Gianna Rucki.

Criminal charges were filed against four people, including the girls’ mother, for their role in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters. The Girls Are Gone chronicles key events during the criminal trials of the people who were later convicted or pleaded guilty for their involvement in this heinous crime.  The book examines the other adults who aided in the conspiracy to hide the truth and the Rucki sisters.

The book also discusses the connection between Michelle MacDonald, who was a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2020, 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.

“One of our goals in writing The Girls Are Gone was to raise public awareness of the danger of children being abducted by family members,” said Brodkorb. “By methodically explaining how a deranged parent worked with strangers to hide her children from their family and friends, we hope to reduce the number of children that go missing each year,” added Brodkorb.

Since being released in October 2018,  The Girls Are Gone has been a commercial and critical success, with seven printings being ordered. In April 2019, 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 2019, 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.

Thissen defeats MacDonald for MN Supreme Court

Michelle MacDonald, who was labeled a “person of interest” in the disappearance of missing children and is facing discipline by the Minnesota Supreme Court, was defeated by Associate Justice Paul Thissen in her fourth campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Thissen is leading with nearly 60 percent of the vote against MacDonald, based on initial election results. He declared victory today over MacDonald, noting that he won 84 of 87 counties in Minnesota.

MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014, 2016, and 2018. In total, over 4.5 million votes have been cast against MacDonald during her failed campaigns for the Minnesota Supreme Court.  Continue reading

Former MN Supreme Court Justice: MacDonald is “unfit for the office”

Michelle MacDonald, who is a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, is “unfit for office” according to former Associate Justice David Lillehaug, who defeated MacDonald when she ran against him for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014.

Former Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court David Lillehaug.

MacDonald is currently running for the Minnesota Supreme Court against Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Thissen, who was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018. She was also an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2016 and 2018.

In a letter to the editor published today by the Star Tribune, Lillehaug wrote:

Based on my two years on the court with Justice Thissen, I can attest that he is thoughtful and ethical, works hard and reads our laws as written. By contrast, based on her record, [Michelle MacDonald] is plainly unfit for the office.

Lillehaug retired from the Minnesota Supreme Court on July 31, 2020.

MacDonald is currently facing discipline from the Minnesota Supreme Court that could impact her ability to serve on the court if she was elected next week.

Earlier this month, a judicial referee appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court determined MacDonald “caused harm to both the public and legal profession” that warrant MacDonald being placed on supervised probation.

Senior Judge E. Anne McKinsey was appointed in June by Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea as the referee to hear the petition for disciplinary action against MacDonald. McKinsey’s recommendation that MacDonald is placed on supervised probation was made in a court filing yesterday after a disciplinary hearing which was held last month. Continue reading

Michelle MacDonald ’caused harm to both the public and legal profession’

A judicial referee appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court has determined that Michelle MacDonald, who is a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, “caused harm to both the public and legal profession” that warrant MacDonald being placed on supervised probation.

Senior Judge E. Anne McKinsey was appointed in June by Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea as the referee to hear the petition for disciplinary action against MacDonald. McKinsey’s recommendation that MacDonald is placed on supervised probation was made in a court filing yesterday after a disciplinary hearing which was held last month.

In March, the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to discipline MacDonald after determining that she violated the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys and the conditions of her probation by which she could practice law.

The petition was filed 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.

The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility requested the suspension of MacDonald’s law license for a minimum of 90 days. They have 14 days to contest the disciplinary recommendations from Judge McKinsey. Continue reading

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

The riveting episode of ABC’s “20/20” discussed in the award-winning true crime book, The Girls Are Gone, will be broadcast today at 3 PM (CST) on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

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

Lawyers board: Suspend MacDonald’s law license

The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility is requesting that Michelle MacDonald, who is a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, “be suspended from the practice of law for a minimum of 90 days as a sanction for her misconduct.

The request to suspend MacDonald’s law license was made in a court filing by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in response to a disciplinary hearing which was held earlier this month

In March, the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to discipline MacDonald after determining that she violated the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys and the conditions of her probation by which she could practice law.

The petition was filed 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.

Senior Judge E. Anne McKinsey was appointed by Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea as the referee to hear the petition for disciplinary action against MacDonald. McKinsey is scheduled to release her findings and recommendations for discipline against MacDonald by October 20, 2020.

According to the brief filed last week, MacDonald “violated Rule 3.1, MRPC” when she filed her “factually frivolous defamation lawsuit” against Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota. The brief is damning and details numerous violations by MacDonald of the rules governing licensed attorneys in Minnesota.

The filing from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility validates the work of Brodkorh and Missing in Minnesota in reporting about Michelle MacDonald, as one of the reasons they want her suspended is because she filed “a factually frivolous lawsuit against a local journalist [Brodkorb], which was dismissed after over a year of costly litigation.”

Continue reading

MacDonald asks Trump to nominate her to replace RGB

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, asked President Donald Trump to nominate her to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday.

MacDonald made her request to Trump on social media that she be nominated to fill the seat of Ginsburg on the US Supreme Court less than 24 hours after Ginsburg’s death was first reported.

The shocking plea from MacDonald to be nominated to the US Supreme Court came days after a disciplinary hearing was held on the petition from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility which details 14 violations by MacDonald of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys and 7 violations of her probation by which she can practice law in Minnesota. Continue reading

MacDonald’s testimony refutes claims made in her lawsuit

Michelle MacDonald’s testimony during a disciplinary hearing yesterday validated the claims made by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility that she filed a “factually false defamation lawsuit” against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota.

In March, 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 was filed 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.

Senior Judge E. Anne McKinsey was appointed in June by Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea as the referee to hear the petition for disciplinary action against MacDonald.

During the nearly 8-hour hearing, which was live-streamed by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, MacDonald’s own testimony refuted many of the claims she made in her lawsuit against Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota. Continue reading

Live-stream: MacDonald’s disciplinary hearing

The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility is live-streaming Michelle MacDonald’s disciplinary hearing which starts at 9 AM. 

Click here for a link to the live-stream of today’s hearing.

MacDonald is running against Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Thissen, who was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018.

The petition was filed 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.

Both Brodkorb and Mann have been subpoenaed by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility to testify at the hearing. 

In total, the petition from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility details 14 violations by MacDonald of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys and 7 violations of her probation by which she can practice law in Minnesota.

Please check back to Missing in Minnesota for updates on MacDonald’s disciplinary hearing. 

MacDonald’s disciplinary hearing scheduled for Wednesday

A court hearing will be held next Wednesday on the petition for disciplinary action filed by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility against Michelle MacDonald, who is a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The hearing is scheduled for September 16, 2020, at 9 AM and will be conducted online through Zoom because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Senior Judge E. Anne McKinsey was appointed in June by Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea as the referee to hear the petition for disciplinary action against MacDonald.

The petition was filed 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.

Both Brodkorb and Mann have been subpoenaed by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility to testify at the hearing. 

In total, the petition from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility details 14 violations by MacDonald of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys and 7 violations of her probation by which she can practice law in Minnesota. Continue reading

Poll shows Thissen with a massive lead over MacDonald

Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Thissen has a massive lead over his opponent for a seat on the Minnesota Supreme Court, Michelle MacDonald, according to a poll of members of the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA).

The poll released last week shows Thissen with the support of over 91 percent of members of the MSBA, while MacDonald had the support of less than 9 percent of the membership.

Thissen received 91.18% (1840 votes) and MacDonald received 8.82% (178 votes) of the 2,018 total votes cast by members of the MSBA in an online poll. 

The results of the poll from the MSBA, which was founded in 1883 and is the oldest professional association for attorneys in Minnesota, shows MacDonald is facing an uphill battle in her campaign to against Thissen.  

MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014, 2016, and 2018. Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Thissen was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018

According to their website, the MSBA “promotes the highest standards of excellence and inclusion within the legal profession, provides valued resources to its members, and strives to improve the law and the equal administration of justice for all.” Continue reading

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

UPDATE (4:30 PM, Thursday, August 20, 2020) –  “Footprints in the Snow” will be broadcast at 5 PM (CST) tonight on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

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The riveting episode of ABC’s “20/20” discussed in the award-winning true crime book, The Girls Are Gone, will be broadcast tonight at 9 PM (CST) and Thursday at 12 AM (CST) on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

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