Category 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.

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.”

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. 

In a post on Facebook, Evavold expressed anger that the criminal charge was not dismissed. Margaret Starry, who is a supporter of Evavold and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, wrote on Evavold’s post that she wished “some big badass would take care of [Brodkorb].” In January 2019, Starry unsuccessfully tried to disrupt a book event in St. Cloud, Minnesota featuring Brodkorb and Allison Mann. Continue reading

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

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

MacDonald’s campaign reports riddled with problems

The campaign finance reports filed by Michelle MacDonald’s campaign committee over the past few months fail to disclose contributor information, detail questionable spending, and improperly hide the massive debt owed by her campaign. 

MacDonald is running against Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Thissen, who was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018. In July, MacDonald’s campaign committee reported raising only $410 – from two donors – since she announced her fourth campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court last December.

MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014, 2016, and 2018. Continue reading

Michelle MacDonald’s campaign only raises $410

Michelle MacDonald’s fourth attempt to get elected to the Minnesota Supreme Court isn’t gaining support with donors, as MacDonald’s campaign reported raising only $410 from two donors since announcing her campaign last December. 

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

Thissen’s campaign reported raising $68,742.91 since January and has a massive financial advantage over MacDonald’s campaign.  Thissen’s campaign reported a cash-on-hand total of $62,578.08 on July 20, 2020, while MacDonald’s campaign reported having only $3,779.11. Continue reading

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki may be back in Minnesota

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, who was convicted of six felonies in 2016 for her role in the disappearance of her daughters, may have traveled back to Minnesota based on comments made last evening on social media.  

While there is no legal impediment to Grazzini-Rucki being in Minnesota, her past behavior shows she is a dangerous criminal with a documented pattern of engaging in threatening behavior and aligning herself with other violent criminals.

Even before leaving Minnesota for her home state of Florida in June 2018, Grazzini-Rucki used social media and the legal system to harass and threaten members of her own family, her children, her ex-husband, judges, law enforcement, court staff, and journalists, including members of their families.

She has continued this conduct since moving back to Flordia. Continue reading

Disciplinary hearing for MacDonald scheduled for September

UPDATE (10:51 AM, Tuesday, September 8, 2020) –  The court hearing on the petition for disciplinary action filed by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility against Michelle MacDonald has been rescheduled for September 16, 2020, at 9 AM.

The hearing will be conducted online through Zoom because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Michelle MacDonald’s fourth campaign to be elected to the Minnesota Supreme Court will take a short break in September, as a court hearing will be held on the petition for disciplinary action filed by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility against MacDonald.

Senior Judge E. Anne McKinsey, who was appointed earlier this month as the referee to hear the petition for disciplinary action against MacDonald, issued a scheduling order yesterday.

A court hearing is scheduled for September 10, 2020, at 9:30 AM, at the Minnesota Judicial Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The hearing will continue to September 11, if needed. Continue reading

Gildea appoints McKinsey to hear disciplinary case against MacDonald

Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea has appointed Senior Judge E. Anne McKinsey as the referee to hear the petition for disciplinary action filed by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility against Michelle MacDonald. 

The disciplinary process will take months, as McKinsey will hear the case and “file her findings of fact, conclusions, and recommendations for the disposition” of the petition for discipline against MacDonald.

The timing of the disciplinary process will complicate MacDonald’s campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court against Justice Paul Thissen. 

A scheduling order for the case will be issued in the coming weeks and MacDonald may have to spend time off the campaign trail and inside a courtroom defending herself against allegations of misconduct. Continue reading