Michelle MacDonald does not believe Sandra Grazzini-Rucki committed a crime when she abducted her children during a custody dispute with her ex-husband, according to comments from MacDonald in a recent interview. MacDonald said the crime involving the disappearance of Samatha and Gianna Rucki was committed by Judge David Knutson when he issued a court order involving custody in 2012.
The shocking statements by MacDonald were made during an interview last week with Blois Olson on WCCO Radio. MacDonald is currently a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, having previously run twice unsuccessfully for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016.
MacDonald served as Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney during the entire 944 days her client’s daughters were missing. Grazzini-Rucki and MacDonald’s former campaign chair and manager were each convicted of six felonies for their roles in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters.
In an interview about her candidacy, MacDonald responds to a question from Olson about her knowledge of Grazzini-Rucki’s involved in the disappearance of her daughters. Despite recently uncovered phone conversations which confirm MacDonald knew her client was involved in the disappearance of her daughters, MacDonald answers that she was unaware.
MacDonald then pivots and says it wasn’t Grazzini-Rucki who committed the crime, it was Judge David Knutson:
“I never thought that what [Sandra Grazzini-Rucki] did was a crime. The crime happened with the courts when Judge Knutson did an order that neither parent could contact their kids. That’s when the deprivation happened at the moment and that was back in September of 2012.”
Below is audio of MacDonald’s comments.
MacDonald has a documented record of making false statements
MacDonald’s law license was suspended for 60 days earlier this year by the Minnesota Supreme Court. One of the numerous examples of MacDonald’s misconduct cited by the Minnesota Supreme Court was MacDonald’s documented record of “making false statements about a judge with reckless disregard for the truth…” The Minnesota Supreme Court described MacDonald’s behavior as “significant misconduct.”
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 investigation into the alleged violations by MacDonald was opened after Missing in Minnesota filed a formal complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in June 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.
MacDonald’s legal work will be examined in an upcoming book
MacDonald was labeled in April 2015 as a “person of interest” by the Lakeville Police Department in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki. MacDonald refused to cooperate with the Lakeville Police Department’s investigation into her possible involvement in the disappearance of the sisters – even after public statements from her that she would cooperate in the investigation. Her criminal defense attorney, Stephen Grigsby, said in 2015 that he would advise MacDonald to not speak with the Lakeville Police Department.
An examination of MacDonald’s legal work will be included in the upcoming book, The Girls Are Gone which is available for pre-sale now and will be 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.
Allison Mann contributed to this story.