SD AG Who Killed Pedestrian And Lied About It Accuses Gov. Kristi Noem Of WITCH HUNT

State/Local Politics
SD AG Who Killed Pedestrian And Lied About It Accuses Gov. Kristi Noem Of WITCH HUNT

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg does not lack for balls.

This is a guy who decided to read messages on his phone on the way home from a GOP fundraiser; struck and killed a pedestrian; claimed to have thought he hit a deer until it emerged that the man's glasses were inside the car, proving that he'd gone through the windshield; got himself charged with three simple misdemeanors for “using a mobile electronic device, illegal lane change and careless driving,” which had nothing to do with his status as the state's top prosecutor, winkwink; defended himself at trial by subpoenaing the victim's medical records and implying that the man committed suicide by throwing himself in front of the car; convinced the GOP to write a whitewash report saying that he'd paid his debt to society and should remain in office; and so thoroughly learned his lesson that he managed to get yet another ticket for reckless driving — his seventh since 2014 — before he even managed to plead guilty to the slap on the wrist he got for killing a man with his car.

But wait, there's more! Because now that he's facing an impeachment vote by the South Dakota legislature, he has someone new to blame, and it is the state's Republican Gov. Kristi Noem. Obviously.

See, Noem called for Ravnsborg to resign immediately, and is leading the charge to impeach him. But Ravnsborg's office is investigating Noem for interfering with a state agency to get her daughter a real estate appraising license, and thus it is no fair for her to notice that he is a wildly inappropriate person to be the top law enforcement official in the state.

In an April 11 letter to the South Dakota House of Representatives obtained by the South Dakota Argus Leader, Ravnsborg sought to frame the matter as a simple fender bender.

"No state has ever impeached an elected official for a traffic accident," he complained, before making a bizarre argument that impeachment functions as some kind of double punishment, rather than a political judgment about fitness to hold office.

"Will all elected officials, whether on or off the job, be held to the same standard? It is times like these that we must consider Article Five of the United States Constitution in that all are presumed innocent until proven otherwise, and once determined to be otherwise to pay the price set forth by law," he complained, before concluding that he'd already suffered enough for killing a man with his car and lying about it to police. "We have gone through the process and the price has been paid."

That "price" Ravnsborg paid was $1000, or $500 for each of his two misdemeanors, if we want to be specific. Then he pivoted to blaming Noem for his woes.

"Within days of the accident and contrary to her public assertions, the Governor requested I resign. She took the unfortunate circumstances of a man being killed in a traffic accident to make her political moves," he said, adding that his continued presence on the political scene is vital because "Knowing Governor Noem could hand select my replacement, I felt it appropriate to stay in office to maintain the checks and balances within the state."

Cue the violins:

The Governor could not remove me through that process and the investigations into her continued, so she immediately sought impeachment proceedings. Since I refused to resign, the Governor sought to undermine, criticize and usurp the powers and privileges of the House at every step.

I have served three military deployments and over 25 years in our military to defend our rights; I believe I should get to exercise my God-given rights just like all Americans and all South Dakotans.

Well, it's a bit much, but not quite as over the top as implying that impeachment is an attack on the family of his victim.

"Every day I think about Joe Boever, a man I had never met, who changed my life forever. I am sorry the family has had to endure this tragedy in so many ways and has been put in the middle of this highly political situation."

But apparently this failed to impress legislators in the state House, who voted yesterday 36-30 to impeach the AG. The matter now heads to the Senate for a trial.

"The question for the House is whether they believe all of the law enforcement officers who investigated this case are lying? Jason does; I do not. I stand with law enforcement," tweeted Noem on the eve of the vote, adding afterward that "the house of Representatives did the right thing."

It takes a lot to make Kristi freakin' Noem look like the moral adult in the room, but this ... is a lot.

[South Dakota Argus Leader / Ravnsborg Letter]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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