Posts tagged Sandra Grazzini-Rucki

Tonight: ABC’s ’20/20′ episode about Grazzini-Rucki

The riveting episode of ABC’s “20/20” discussed in the award-winning true crime book, The Girls Are Gone, will be broadcast tonight at 10 PM (CST) and Friday at 1 AM (CST) on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

The episode about Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, “Footprints in the Snow,” was first broadcast on April 8, 2016, and was later rebroadcast on March 25, 2017. The episode has since broadcast on multiple television networks over the last two years.

Grazzini-Rucki had tried to stop the rebroadcasts of the episode, which found no documentation to verify Grazzini-Rucki’s claim that she was abused by David Rucki. Grazzini-Rucki had taken to Facebook, calling the show “rank propaganda” and encouraging people to register complaints.

In April 2017, Grazzini-Rucki announced she would be filing a defamation lawsuit against ABC, Inc, ABC’s “20/20”, and Elizabeth Vargas, the co-anchor of “20/20”. Grazzini-Rucki claimed she would be seeking “an ungodly amount” of money in her latest lawsuit, but the lawsuit was never filed. Continue reading

Disciplinary hearing for MacDonald scheduled for September

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.

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 by Governor Mark Dayton 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 serious 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.”

Board petition details multiple violations by MacDonald

The petition filed by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility details three counts of “unprofessional conduct warranting revocation of probation and further public discipline” of MacDonald.

The first count details “knowingly false statements” made by MacDonald about Judge David Knutson during a radio interview with Blois Olson on WCCO Radio in October 2018.

During the interview, MacDonald said it wasn’t Sandra Grazzini-Rucki who committed a crime when she abducted her children during a custody dispute with her ex-husband. 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 second count against MacDonald is about the “factually frivolous defamation lawsuit” filed by MacDonald against Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota. The petition states MacDonald’s “conduct in filing a frivolous defamation lawsuit against the defendants, which lacked a basis in fact particularly given respondent’s probation requirement to ensure factual accuracy…” violated her probation and rules governor licensed attorneys in Minnesota.

The third count in the petition describes MacDonald’s conduct in charging “unreasonable fees,”  failing to provide a copy of a retaining agreement to a client, and failing to get a confirmation in writing of a “fee-sharing arrangement…”

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.

MacDonald has been previously disciplined by lawyers board for multiple rule violations

Brodkorb and Mann filed a complaint just days after MacDonald served her lawsuit on Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota in June 2018. The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility notified Brodkorb and Mann that MacDonald would be investigated based on their complaint.

MacDonald has been disciplined twice for multiple rule violations since she was admitted to practice law in Minnesota in 1987.

In 2012, MacDonald was disciplined by the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board for “for failing to deposit settlement proceeds into a trust account, failing to maintain proper trust account books and records, failing to promptly deliver funds to a client, failing in her duty to be responsible for the conduct of a non-lawyer and failing to cooperate with the Director’s investigation…”

A judicial referee appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court found in 2018 that MacDonald violated “at least seven Rules of Professional Conduct over the course of two different client matters.”

The Minnesota Supreme Court later suspended MacDonald’s law license for 60 days and placed her on supervised probation for two years after determining she “made false statements about the integrity of a judge with reckless disregard for the truth; improperly used subpoenas; knowingly disobeyed a court rule and failed to follow a scheduling order; and engaged in disruptive courtroom conduct, including behavior resulting in her arrest.”

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.

In 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.

Gildea appoints McKinsey to hear disciplinary case against MacDonald

Minnesota Supreme Court 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

Sunday: ABC’s ’20/20′ episode about Grazzini-Rucki

The riveting episode of ABC’s “20/20” discussed in the award-winning true crime book, The Girls Are Gone, will be broadcast tonight at 8 PM and 11 PM (CST) on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

The episode about Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, “Footprints in the Snow,” was first broadcast on April 8, 2016, and was later rebroadcast on March 25, 2017. The episode has since broadcast on multiple television networks over the last two years.

Grazzini-Rucki had tried to stop the rebroadcasts of the episode, which found no documentation to verify Grazzini-Rucki’s claim that she was abused by David Rucki. Grazzini-Rucki had taken to Facebook, calling the show “rank propaganda” and encouraging people to register complaints.

In April 2017, Grazzini-Rucki announced she would be filing a defamation lawsuit against ABC, Inc, ABC’s “20/20”, and Elizabeth Vargas, the co-anchor of “20/20”. Grazzini-Rucki claimed she would be seeking “an ungodly amount” of money in her latest lawsuit, but the lawsuit was never filed. Continue reading

Evavold a no-show for court appearance

UPDATE (12:00 PM, Thursday, March 19, 2020) – Dede Evavold’s pre-trial hearing for March 23, 2020, had been canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Minnesota Judicial Branch has adjusted court hearings for the next 30 days. Evavold’s criminal trial is still scheduled for April 20, 2020

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Dede Evavold failed to attend an evidentiary hearing this morning for her upcoming criminal trial on violating a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) filed against her by Michael Brodkorb. Evavold was charged in May after she attempted to contact Brodkorb for assistance in restarting her blog after WordPress suspended it for violating their terms of service.

Today’s hearing was scheduled for 9:00 AM this morning at the Dakota County Northern Service Center in West St. Paul, Minnesota, and was requested by Evavold during a pre-trial hearing last December. The hearing was published on the public court calendar for Dakota County and it was listed on Minnesota State Court Information System.

Judge Vicki Taylor waited until 9:37 AM to allow Evavold to appear in the courtroom before the hearing was canceled. Because Evavold was a no-show for today’s hearing, there will now be a pre-trial hearing scheduled for March 23, 2020 – which was the date of Evavold’s criminal trial. The trial date has now been moved to April 20, 2020.

Judge Taylor left open the possibility of sanctioning Evavold for the costs associated with today’s hearing. Law enforcement was subpoenaed to testify and others were present in the courtroom waiting for Evavold to arrive for today’s hearing. 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

Friday: ABC’s ’20/20′ episode about Grazzini-Rucki

The riveting episode of ABC’s “20/20” discussed in the award-winning true crime book, The Girls Are Gone, will be broadcast tomorrow at 9 AM (CST) on Investigative Discovery.

The episode about Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, “Footprints in the Snow,” was first broadcast on April 8, 2016, and was later rebroadcast on March 25, 2017. The episode has since broadcast on multiple television networks over the last two years.

Grazzini-Rucki had tried to stop the rebroadcasts of the episode, which found no documentation to verify Grazzini-Rucki’s claim that she was abused by David Rucki. Grazzini-Rucki had taken to Facebook, calling the show “rank propaganda” and encouraging people to register complaints.

In April 2017, Grazzini-Rucki announced she would be filing a defamation lawsuit against ABC, Inc, ABC’s “20/20”, and Elizabeth Vargas, the co-anchor of “20/20”. Grazzini-Rucki claimed she would be seeking “an ungodly amount” of money in her latest lawsuit, but the lawsuit was never filed. Continue reading

18-month investigation by lawyers board into MacDonald continues

The investigation by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility into alleged violations by Michelle MacDonald of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys continues according to a letter from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

The investigation into the alleged violations by MacDonald was opened over 18 months ago after Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann filed a formal complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in response to MacDonald filing a “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit against Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota, which appeared 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 Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota was dismissed in March by a judge in Ramsey County. MacDonald is appealing the dismissal of the lawsuit.

MacDonald started her fourth campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court last month. She was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018, having previously lost two bids for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016.  Continue reading

MacDonald begins fourth campaign for MN Supreme Court

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. 

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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…”

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 by Governor Mark Dayton 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. Continue reading

Evavold’s criminal trial scheduled for March

A judge in Dakota County scheduled Dede Evavold’s criminal trial for March 23, 2020, on a criminal charge of violating a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) filed against her by Michael Brodkorb. Evavold was charged in May after she attempted to contact Brodkorb for assistance in restarting her blog after WordPress suspended it for violating their terms of service.

Evavold’s criminal trial was scheduled during a hearing today at the Dakota County Northern Service Center in West St. Paul, Minnesota. An evidentiary hearing was also scheduled for February 28, 2020.

Brodkorb was granted an HRO against Evavold last year 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.”

The HRO against Evavold remains in place until November 19, 2020. Continue reading

Evavold makes second court appearance on restraining order violation

Dede Evavold made her second court appearance involving a criminal charge of violating a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) filed against her in Dakota County by Michael Brodkorb. Evavold was charged in May after she attempted to contact Brodkorb for assistance in restarting her blog after WordPress suspended it for violating their terms of service.

During a brief court hearing at the Dakota County Northern Service Center in West St. Paul, Minnesota, Evavold requested a formal complaint be filed related to the criminal charge. The prosecutor agreed to have a formal complaint drafted within 30 days and a pre-trial hearing was scheduled for December 3, 2019. Evavold was arranged in July.

Brodkorb was granted an HRO against Evavold last year 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.”

The HRO against Evavold remains in place until November 19, 2020.

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.

In the courtroom yesterday with Evavold was Margaret Starry, who lives in Sartell, Minnesota. Starry is a supporter of Evavold and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki. In January, Starry unsuccessfully tried to disrupt a book event in St. Cloud, Minnesota featuring Brodkorb and Allison Mann.

In response to a threating message on Twitter in July, Starry was instructed to stop attempting to make contact. Despite being instructed to stop making contact, Starry was actively attacking Brodkorb on social media in the days leading up to yesterday’s hearing and trying again to make contact. Continue reading

15-month investigation by lawyers board into MacDonald continues

The investigation by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility into alleged violations by Michelle MacDonald of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys continues according to a letter from the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

The investigation into the alleged violations by MacDonald was opened over 15 months ago after Missing in Minnesota filed a formal complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility in response to MacDonald filing a “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit against Missing in Minnesota, which appeared 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.

MacDonald was an unsuccessful candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018, having previously lost two bids for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016. Continue reading

Wednesday: ABC’s ’20/20′ episode about Grazzini-Rucki

Tomorrow, October 16, 2019, at 10 AM (CST), Investigative Discovery (ID) will be broadcasting the episode of ABC’s “20/20” discussed in the award-winning true crime book,  The Girls Are Gone.

The episode about Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, called “Footprints in the Snow” was first broadcast on April 8, 2016, and was later rebroadcast on March 25, 2017. The episode has since been rebroadcast on multiple television networks over the last two years.

Grazzini-Rucki had tried to stop the rebroadcasts of the episode which found no documentation to verify Grazzini-Rucki’s claim that she was abused by David Rucki. Grazzini-Rucki had taken to Facebook, calling the show “rank propaganda” and encouraging people to register complaints.

In April 2017, Grazzini-Rucki announced she would be filing a defamation lawsuit against ABC, Inc, ABC’s “20/20”, and Elizabeth Vargas, the co-anchor of “20/20”. Grazzini-Rucki claimed she would be seeking “an ungodly amount” of money in her latest lawsuit, but the lawsuit was never filed. Continue reading

Court grants 50-year restraining order against Dede Evavold

A judge in Dakota County granted a 50-year extension on the Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) requested by David Rucki and his daughter, Samantha Rucki, against Dede Evavold. The extension was granted at a hearing this morning at the Dakota County Western Service Center in Apple Valley, Minnesota.

The HRO against Evavold remains in effect until September 9, 2069.

Evavold was convicted in September 2016 of six felonies for her role in the disappearance of Samantha Rucki and her sister Gianna, who were abducted near their home in Lakeville, Minnesota by their mother Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, during a custody and divorce proceeding. Continue reading