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.

MacDonald being investigated by lawyers board because of her lawsuit

Karlowba Adams Powell and Michelle MacDonald

The lawsuit filed by MacDonald against Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota was dismissed last March by a judge in Ramsey County. MacDonald is appealing the dismissal of the lawsuit.

MacDonald 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 over 19-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 weeks 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.

Complaint alleges lawsuit filed by MacDonald was 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 contained 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

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 investigation into Karlowba Adams Powell and Michelle MacDonald.

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