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.
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…”
UPDATE: During today’s oral arguments, Michelle MacDonald’s attorney argued she was a public figure and wasn’t running for office. In the time since the hearing ended at 10:45 AM, MacDonald’s Twitter profile was updated to reflect she is running for the MN Supreme Court in 2020. pic.twitter.com/xPmhJVlqg0
— Michael Brodkorb (@mbrodkorb) December 12, 2019
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.
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 Award. The Kindle Edition of The Girls Are Gone has appeared on multiple “best seller” lists by Amazon. The Girls Are Gone is published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing.
In October, Brodkorb and Mann released an audiobook of The Girls Are Gone, which was produced at Studio Americana. The Girls Are Gone is available for sale through numerous retailers in audiobook, paperback, and ebook.
Court affirms ruling that MacDonald “knowingly violated” campaign law
In September 2017, the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed a ruling from the Office of Administrative Hearings that MacDonald “knowingly violated” campaign law when she falsely claimed she was endorsed by a non-existent Republican organization during her 2016 campaign.
In December 2016, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) ruled against MacDonald and also imposed a $500 civil penalty for violating the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act.
The initial complaint against MacDonald was filed by Barbara Linert of Eagan and Steve Timmer of Edina.
MacDonald being investigated by lawyers board because of her 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 16-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.
The lawsuit filed by MacDonald against Missing in Minnesota was dismissed in March by a judge in Ramsey County. MacDonald is appealing the dismissal of the lawsuit.
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