Category Michelle MacDonald

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.

MacDonald admits Brodkorb posted her booking photo

Booking photo from MacDonald’s arrest on September 12, 2013.

MacDonald filed her lawsuit 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 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.

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.”

MacDonald admitted during her testimony at her disciplinary hearing that the booking photo published by Michael Brodkorb was the same booking photo taken by the Dakota Sheriff’s Office when she was arrested during a court hearing for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, reversing claims she made in her lawsuit.

MacDonald claimed in her lawsuit that her booking photo had not been published, “or showed up on the internet” – which is not true.

 

The booking photo of MacDonald from her arrest in September 2013 is available through the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office and websites that document arrests

Yesterday was the first time MacDonald admitted that Brodkorb had posted an actual booking photo and not a doctored photograph or “false image” as she claimed in her lawsuit. 

MacDonald admits other media outlets labeled her a “person of interest”

In her lawsuit, MacDonald claimed she was “not aware” of any other media outlet reporting that she was labeled a “person of interest.”

 

During cross-examination by Keshini Ratnayake, Senior Assistant Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, MacDonald acknowledged that she was aware that another media outlet had published that she was labeled a “person of interest” by the Lakeville Police Department into the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki, prior to filing her lawsuit against Brodkorb.  

MacDonald testified yesterday that she was aware that a journalist for the Star Tribune published that she “was a ‘person of interest’ in the case.”

MacDonald sued Brodkorb over a tweet sent by a reporter with the Star Tribune

During the disciplinary hearing Wednesday, MacDonald was questioned about her claim in her lawsuit that Brodkorb defamed her by falsely reporting that she had been convicted of DUI and that the conviction had been upheld by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

MacDonald stated Wednesday, as she had in her complaint against Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota, that this claim was based entirely on a tweet published by Brodkorb on February 16, 2016.

Brodkorb denied sending this Tweet during his testimony Wednesday was consistent with an affidavit filed in Ramsey County District Court during ligation related to MacDonald’s complaint.

MacDonald and her attorney announced they had evidence of the tweet during the hearing. But it was later revealed that MacDonald was again presenting an exhibit she first filed with her appellate brief in the underlying litigation. 

The tweet MacDonald displayed in the hearing was not authored or published by Brodkorb, but by David Chanen, a reporter for the Star Tribune

Brodkorb further testified that he accurately reported that MacDonald was not convicted of a DWI and that if she had concerns about the tweet sent by Chanen, she should have addressed it with him. 

Attorneys distance themselves from MacDonald’s lawsuit

Two attorneys who worked with MacDonald while she was on probation distanced themselves from MacDonald’s lawsuit in their testimony.

Bill Sieben, who served as MacDonald’s probation supervisor, testified that he didn’t review MacDonald’s lawsuit against Brodkorb, saying the lawsuit “seems political, not professional.”

Larry Frost had previously stated that he had not reviewed MacDonald’s lawsuit for “factual accuracy” and yesterday, he testified that it wasn’t his role to tell MacDonald if her lawsuit was “bad tactics.”

Despite facing discipline, MacDonald is a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court  

Justice Paul Thissen

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

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 severe discipline and the likely suspension of her law license, MacDonald can still run for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Courts in Minnesota have interpreted the requirement in the Minnesota Constitution that judges “shall be learned in the law” as being licensed to practice law. Candidates for the Minnesota Supreme Court, Minnesota Court of Appeals, District Court of Minnesota, or county attorney are required to submit a copy of their law license when they file to run for office with the Minnesota Secretary of State.

Aside from being a repeated 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.”

The disciplinary process against MacDonald will continue over the coming weeks, as Senior Judge McKinsey is scheduled to release her findings and recommendations for discipline by October 20, 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.

Last 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.

Please follow Missing in Minnesota on Twitter and Facebook for updates on the disciplinary process involving Michelle MacDonald.

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

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

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

ABC’s ’20/20′ episode: Four years later

On April 8, 2016, ABC’s “20/20” first broadcast “Footprints in the Snow” which focused on the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki. The sisters were taken by their mother near their home on the night of April 19, 2013, during a custody and divorce dispute involving their parents – Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and David Rucki.

In March 2o17, ABC aired an updated “Footprints in the Snow” with new information about the case and the program has been rebroadcast multiple times since 2016.  Today – nearly four years after the original broadcast – many of the individuals interviewed remain entangled in the case of the sisters who went missing and were later found by law enforcement. Continue reading

Lawyers board: suspend MacDonald’s attorney for 6 months

A lawyer for the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board told the Minnesota Supreme Court today that Karlowba Adams Powell, who serves as Michelle MacDonald’s attorney in her lawsuit against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota, should be suspended from practicing law for 6 months for violating numerous rules governing licensed attorneys in Minnesota.

Binh Thanh Tuong, attorney for the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, said during today’s hearing that “every step that [Adams-Powell] took was an attempt to cover-up.”

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.

State Senator Bobby Joe Champion (pictured above), who serves as Adams Powell’s attorney, said his client’s conduct did not harm the public but acknowledged she engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, failed to properly deposit funds, and failed to get a co-signature on a deposit/receipt.

Champion acknowledges Adam Powell’s “lapses in judgment” and offered a 60-day suspension.

This is the fourth disciplinary proceeding involving professional misconduct for Adams Powell. The Minnesota Supreme Court will make a determination within 60 days on the appropriate discipline for Adams Powell. Continue reading