South Dakota attorney general found guilty in impeachment trial

The South Dakota Senate voted to remove state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg from office on Tuesday night in an impeachment trial after Ravnsborg fatally struck a man with his car in 2020.

Mr. Ravnsborg, a Republican, was found guilty by the Senate of two counts: committing crimes that caused the death of a person and a misdemeanor for misleading law enforcement and abusing powers of his office. A conviction required the support of two-thirds of the Republican-dominated South Dakota Senate.

Gov. Kristi Noem, a fellow Republican who had repeatedly called on Mr. Ravnsborg to step down, applauded the decision.

“After nearly two years, the dark cloud over the attorney general’s office has been lifted,” she said. “Now is the time to move on and start restoring trust in the office.”

The South Dakota Democratic Party said in a statement that “the decision to impeach and impeach him is an important final step in holding him accountable.”

The Senate also voted to bar Ravnsborg, who earlier this month said he would not run for re-election, from holding public office in the state.

Mr. Ravnsborg did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Ms. Noem will appoint her replacement.

The sentencing ended a painful episode that riveted South Dakota: In September 2020, Mr. Ravnsborg called 911 to report that he had hit something, possibly a deer, with his car while he was driving at night on a rural highway. The following day, when Mr Ravnsborg and others inspected the scene where the collision had occurred, they saw that the car had hit Joe Boever, 55, who was walking along the highway near Highmore, SD

Mr. Ravnsborg did not contest two misdemeanor charges in connection with the crash and was fined but did not serve jail time. Prosecutors who testified before a legislative committee said they had no evidence to support more serious charges.

Mr Ravnsborg, who had spoken little publicly about the case, issued a letter the day before the impeachment vote, saying he ‘could not resign then and cannot resign now because the incident did not interfered with my ability to perform the duties” of a lawyer. general. He did not testify during his trial in the Senate.

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