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Judge Orders State to Remove Links to Ravnsborg Videos from DPS Website, Tells Noem No More Leaks!

On Tuesday, Governor Kristi Noem directed her Department of Public Safety to publicly post two videos of North Dakota investigators questioning South Dakota Attorney General Ravnsborg about how he killed Joe Boever with his car on September 12, 2020. The two investigation videos, from September 14 and September 30, make Ravnsborg look like a pathetic, self-delusional liar, not to mention an inattentive driver who, despite his top law enforcement job, lacks basic skills of observation to investigate his own crime scene. This afternoon, Noem promised to release more evidence from the Ravnsborg case.

At 5:37 p.m. CST today, Judge John Brown ordered that links to those videos be removed from the Department of Public Safety’s website. He also ordered that Noem specifically, as every other member of state government, to stifle any more leaks. The judge was responding to Ravnsborg’s motion to preclude disclosure of criminal investigation information.

Brown Orders DPS remove Ravnsborg video links 20210225
Judge John Brown, “Order Precluding Disclosure of Criminal Investigation Information,” State v. Ravnsborg, 2021.02.25.

The videos themselves are still up (Sept. 14, Sept. 30) on YouTube, on DPS’s channel. I strongly recommend y’all make your own bootleg copies right now. ***Update 19:12 CST: The videos on the DPS YouTube channel are now marked private and unavailable.

Joe Sneve reports that prosecuting attorneys also asked the Governor not to release those videos. Beadle County State’s Attorney Michael Moore, who consulted with Hyde County Deputy State’s Attorney Emily Sovell on the investigation before she filed three misdemeanor charges against Ravnsborg last week, says releasing those videos broke some rules:

Beadle County State’s Attorney Michael Moore said Wednesday that Tuesday’s release of video interviews of Ravnsborg by the governor’s office violated professional rules of conduct and should not have been done.

“It’s our position that nothing should have been released until the case is over,” said Moore, who was among a group of states attorneys who reviewed the evidence following Ravnsborg’s Sept. 12 fatal accident in which the attorney general killed a pedestrian [Jonathan Ellis, Joe Sneve, and Danielle Ferguson, “Ravnsborg Won’t Resign, Investigating Attorney Questions Release of Videos {Paywall},” Aberdeen American News, 2021.02.24].

Earlier today, Governor Noem said rules-schmules, and there’s more where that came from:

“We will be releasing more information more than likely today or tomorrow,” she said. About releasing the interviews, Noem said, “We specifically asked for the (Boever) family’s consent to do that. So we are going to continue to ask the family what to release, what they’re OK with, throughout this process” [Bob Mercer, “Governor Explains Her Decision to Release Ravnsborg Videos, Says More Info Is Coming,” KELO-TV, 2021.02.25].

Again, a translation for Jason, who seems really bad at getting the message: Kristi wants you out. She warned you Tuesday to resign or else, you didn’t listen, and hours later, she released the videos. She’ll keep releasing more evidence, which she knows and you know will make you look even worse, until you surrender. You have no option for victory, only departure at varying depths of indignity.

At her press conference today, the Governor asked her Secretary of Public Safety, former Highway Patrol chief Craig Price, to explain why releasing this evidence was appropriate. Secretary Price dropped bombs all over Ravnsborg:

“As law enforcement officers, maintaining public trust is critical. We have numerous examples across our country where that trust has been lost, and we’ve all seen that happen in other states. Law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard. We know that and we accept that. We carry a badge that carries significant responsibilities. It requires us to have honor, integrity, character and requires us to tell the truth every single time,” Price said.

He continued, “We don’t expect ourselves to be perfect, but we do expect ourselves to be truthful. Most of us have supervisors that handle situations like this. The chief law enforcement officer of our state answers to our citizens, who are represented through their elected legislators. So if I’m asked, or when I’m asked about whether or not I support this administrative process, I do — they’re the ones that need to look and see if there’s an employment matter that needs to be addressed” [Mercer, 2021.02.25].

According to Mercer’s account, Secretary Price also said Ravnsborg’s claim that he’s able to perform all of his duties just fine is bunk:

“I don’t know all the duties of the attorney general, but I do reflect back on an article that was written by the Rapid City Journal in early February that reflected upon an agreement back in November where the police chiefs and sheriffs are no longer utilizing the services of the attorney general to review their use of force cases,” Price said [link added; Mercer, 2021.02.25].

And he says Moore is barking up the wrong tree trying to claim that releasing the evidence from the Ravnsborg investigation is naughty:

“And he’s been involved in a pedestrian-vehicle fatality crash. DPS is the custodian of the records and we were directed by Governor Noem to release the information as part of her commitment to be transparent on this case. South Dakota statute allows for that,” Price said [Mercer, 2021.02.25].

I’m annoyed, of course, that neither Moore nor Price cite the rules or statutes they have in mind. But I really hope we’re about to get in a fight over the language of SDCL 1-27-1.5, the list of lengthy exceptions to South Dakota’s public records laws. That statute, and here, specifically, item #5, says criminal investigation records are not subject to the laws requiring the release of public records for public inspection and copying. One could read those laws to say that the public can’t demand that police and state officials release such documents, but that the police and state are free to choose to release those documents if they wish. One could also look back to Bob Mercer’s argument in 2013 (most of which then-Attorney General Marty Jackley agreed with) that in cases dealing with public figures, the public interest outweighs South Dakota’s confidentiality provisions.

But Judge Brown has just dealt a blow to Governor Noem’s pressure campaign to force Ravnsborg to resign. His order says neither she nor any other “member of state government” may disclose “any further criminal reports, interviews, test results, digital media, photographs, videos, statements, or anything whatsoever” related to the Ravnsborg case to the public.

Wow: so is this now a total gag order on Governor Noem on the Ravnsborg case? Will she obey it… or will she tell Ian Fury to send some materials backchannel to Jason Ravsnborg’s favorite blog to keep the pressure on?

And how might this order affect impeachment? Legislators are members of state government, aren’t they? If they cannot release any evidence related to the Ravnsborg case, they cannot hold any public hearings dealing with evidence from that case… and I”m thinking there’s no way you can hold an impeachment behind closed doors.

And wow—I’m afraid to say it, but Jason Ravnsborg may have come up with a legal maneuver (and a friendly judge) that could delay his impeachment and his suspension from the last well-paying job he’ll ever get in South Dakota for weeks, maybe months, until his criminal trial is over (again, I ask: when is Jason up for that promotion to full colonel in the Army Reserves?). And if he can come up with an argument that Noem violated his rights by releasing his embarrassing interrogation videos, he may be able to convince a judge to throw out his criminal trial for terminal tainting of the jury pool by the state.


  1. Whitless 2021-02-25 19:09

    The pre-trial disclosure of criminal investigation material opens the door for Ravnsborg to claim that potential jurors will be prejudiced, and to request dismissal of the charges.

  2. mike from iowa 2021-02-25 19:31

    Tainting jury pools is a national pastime for wingnuts. See 4 years of drumpf’s poisonous vitriol. Maybe you can get sinate wingnuts to prejudge the case as they did twice for noem’s inspiration, drumpf.

  3. John 2021-02-25 19:37

    There is no chance that the US Army Reserve, then the US Army, then the Department of Defense would nominate ravnsborg for promotion to the president. There is no chance the president would include ravnsborg on a nomination list forwarded for the consent of the US Senate. There is no chance that the US Senate would approve a promotion list to colonel with ravnsborg’s name on it.

    Perhaps a civil suit may award ravnsborg’s eventual retirement pay(s) federal and state, among other damages, to the Boever family.

    The ‘best justice’ available in these sad circumstances and at this late date include impeachment and the civil suit.

  4. Steveo7654 2021-02-25 19:42

    It states ‘any further information’. There is enough public information now to impeach/convict and get him out.

  5. Bob Newland 2021-02-25 19:47

    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

    Hunter S. Thompson is credited with this pithy line, but I coulda come up with it after watching Noem and Ravnsborg for a while.

  6. leslie 2021-02-25 20:22

    That Kristi would order this revenge is…well, revenge. I didn’t want to suggest the impropriety previously. She’s an ignorant hip shooting elected official. She has lawyers. And Lew, too since Biden cut him loose! Just like Trump.

    She did not learn a thing in the state legislature or Congress about process, while climbing walls in China and shouting w/glee. Reminds me of Palin, McCarthy, and MTG, only the latest of low IQ elected Republican officials. I have better things to do…. We all do.

    Ferchristsake it is the middle of a global pandemic!

    Anyone else? What say you, mfi??

  7. Donald Pay 2021-02-25 20:36

    Much as I’m for the maximum transparency, I’m also for the maximum sentence for Ravnesborg. I can see where there is a good reason to keep such investigatory material under wraps until a jury or judge has ruled. This is a “get out of jail free card” for Ravnesborg. On the other hand, maybe the shame of being exposed for being a lying rat and being stripped of the honor of being AG is better punishment.

  8. robin friday 2021-02-25 20:36

    I’m thinking that, intentional or not, Kristi may have saved Ravnsborg by making the case against him unprosecutable. Tell me who in SD has not heard of the case or formed an opinion. The charges are not what they should have been, and now may not be prosecutable at all. Kind of like what McConnell did by not allowing articles of impeachment to be received by the Senate until after T was no longer president. Public loses interest.

  9. robin friday 2021-02-25 20:58

    The piddly charges brought against Ravnsborg protect him from double jeopardy, if nothing else. If they try him for trifles and then find him guilty or not, it makes little difference, except that he can’t be tried again for the same crimes.

  10. Whitless 2021-02-25 21:51

    Ever since Boever’s tragic death by wayward driver Ravnsborg, Kristi has approached this case through the lens of minimizing the potential negative fallout for her. As an aspiring, but unannounced, 2024 presidential candidate, she wants Ravnsborg gone, preferably by his own resignation or, if not, then through impeachment. Above all, she wants him gone soon, rather than staying in office through 2022. It probably does not matter to her whether Ravnsborg has a trial, or if he is tried, whether the trial is fair. It can’t be said enough; this politician is focused solely and obsessively on promoting her political future (Period).

  11. jerry 2021-02-25 22:54

    The Hyde County sheriff, along with Ravnsborg, continue to prove that South Dakota is so corrupt that nothing sticks. Poor old Benda ends up dead in a cornfield and we never know what really happened to him, only that the governor then, did pretty well in his career move. So if Emily, along with the other two prosecutors, saw these tapes, why did she only give Ravnsborg a light hand slapping? She might be out of her league in Hyde County, but these other two fellers have big city experience. Meanwhile, NOem continues to say no to whatever it is she doesn’t like, judges be damned. Give those out of state policemen credit for doing one helluva job interrogating Ravnsborg. Those boys are professionals, wonder if we could hire them to look at some old case files.

  12. Tom 2021-02-25 23:54

    I have to agree with Donald Pay, “the shame of being exposed for being a lying rat and being stripped of the honor of being AG is better punishment” than the paltry criminal penalty of a $1500 fine and 90 days in jail. I also think the observation by Whitless that “this politician is focused solely and obsessively on promoting her(his) political future” pertains to Ravnsborg as much as it does to Noem.

  13. cibvet 2021-02-26 00:05

    Great points, Jerry.You will never find transparency or integrity in a SD governor office until the EB-5 and Gear Up investigations are released so all can see the CYA reports. Hell, if we are doing transparency, lets see the flight logs of the state plane and the pay stubs of those protecting her or Lewadowski’s reimbursement for all his so called “ride alongs”.

  14. grudznick 2021-02-26 00:16

    That Governor Noem, she is one shrewd pretty young lady. Mr. Ravnsborg lies awake at night, watching the shadows on the ceiling of his apartment as the traffic goes by, trucks doing the Jake thing, an occasional siren in the distance as the big city murmur swirls around him. He lays there, on his couch, covered with his grandma’s knitted afghan that doesn’t quite cover his feet so they are chilly, and he rages inside about why the Governor isn’t protecting him.

    And the libbies, why they still are infected with NDS. Noem is doing their job. Wake up libbies, and smell the sausage gravy.

  15. Mike Livingston 2021-02-26 01:40

    cheez whiz I got swallowed up in the twilight Zone.

  16. V 2021-02-26 05:12

    Time for a little humor.

    One of the ladies in my viritual prayer group asked if Noem was born in South Dakota and one gal answered “No, she sure wasn’t, she was hatched!!!!” Of course, the subject of a birth certificate was raised and another friend said it may reveal why she has to travel so much and not be seen in public in South Dakota. I still don’t understand that one but you can see how these old Lutheran ladies view our state’s highest official and it ain’t pretty.

    We always pray for our government officials after we roast them. However, we are still waiting for results.

  17. Mark Anderson 2021-02-26 06:26

    Jezz this is an unusual case, grudz wants libbies to be woke. Whats next?

  18. happy camper 2021-02-26 06:49

    As people have wondered, was everything the investigators said to Ravnsborg the real truth? They aren’t required to be honest cause they want to shake the tree. Noem’s actions are very suspect we know she isn’t transparent about herself. Get rid of Ravnsborg, get a handpicked AG who’ll do what she wants, while she looks above board. Granted, it’s fine to be skeptical, but three of my family members have been in car accidents a little more serious, and each had memory loss. One had no idea why he was even in that part of town. It is possible Ravnsborg was so stunned he wouldn’t have noticed the glasses on the floor or behind the seat. I’m unsure if these videos should have been made public. Available to the family for a civil trial, but this could be a dangerous legal and political precedent. Question Noem’s motives. People tell me if you don’t do exactly what she wants, she’s ruthless, and you’re gone.

  19. o 2021-02-26 08:21

    We are now seeing probative and quick justice for Ravnsborg — not for the killing of another while driving distracted — but for his true crime: bringing a negative focus to our nationally aspiring political figure. The retribution for that intolerable act will be swift and absolute.

  20. Fast Eddy 2021-02-26 10:23

    I misjudged Krazyeyes Kristi. I had thought she went to the Republican school of How to Stay in Politics Forever while Screwing Your Constituents. She is way more evil than that. She went to the Trump School for Advanced Psychos. She is a prodigy and we are the beneficiaries of all she learned.

  21. Donald Pay 2021-02-26 10:44

    Happy camper brings up an interesting scenario. Generally, I would buy into it, but anyone with an once of sense of justice, and I will grant Noem just an ounce and no more, would be upset enough to release the information and let people decide for themselves whether justice was done. And even if Noem has less than an ounce, I’m sure she can do the political calculations that run toward this: there have been too many Republican scandals, she can’t afford being seen as covering up for this guy, and it’s better to get this over with than let it bleed out over time. I think most people, though, think the guy got off pretty easily. You or I would be sitting in prison by now.

  22. mike from iowa 2021-02-26 11:08

    Is it settled? Did Ravnsborg throw the election to Biden? If this government was military, the boom would be lowered on the clown in command who pinned stripes on Ravnsborg.

  23. Chip Douglas 2021-02-26 11:27

    Jason needs to start fighting, bring her down Jason! You’re the AG!

  24. grudznick 2021-02-26 12:21

    Mr. mike, there in Iowa where you live and NDS is not as widespread because most Iowegians worry about their own state, you could see the movies too and hear Mr. Ravnborg admit to reading DWC and other bloggings right from his car while he listened to books on tape. A big books on tape fellow is Mr. Ravnsborg.

  25. happy camper 2021-02-26 18:41

    Based on everything said here before about Noem, why would anyone believe she has an ounce of justice? She is acting completely out of self interest. Because you are so anxious to take down Ravnsborg, and entirely believe he is guilty, for a moment you’re mistakenly thinking the enemy of your enemy is your friend. She’s playing you knowing you would support this travesty in the immediacy. What is more important, for everyone in the long run, is keeping the process as fair as possible or very quickly this will be turned back on you, or any of her political enemies to better her own means.

  26. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-02-26 19:01

    Noem has an easy path to expand her power with a hand[icked AG… and I have no reason good enough to stop her. I offer the same response I did to folks who said in 2019 and 2020, “Don’t support impeaching Trump, because then we’d be stuck with President Pence”: who comes next does not matter as much as doing justice for the clear and present crimes of the current officeholder.

    Ravnsborg is incompetent. By his crime and by his lying about it, he has lost the confidence of law enforcement. He cannot do the job for which he was elected. He must resign; if he lacks the decency and civic-mindedness to do so, we must remove him from office as quickly as legally possible.

    We must then turn to doing the same to Noem.

  27. robin friday 2021-02-26 19:20

    happy camper seems to think we’re foolish enough to not know a crime when we see one. As usual, with this kind of thing, the coverup is worse than the crime, though I don’t know a crime greater than killing a man accidentally, and then leaving him to lie there like a dead or expiring animal overnight. Never mind Noem and what she has up her sleeveless shirt and her reasons for doing what she does. As Cory says, it’s the original crime and the seriousness of the crime which deserves the proper punishment. No fan of Noem am I, but her self-indulgent designs in somehow profiting from Ravnsborg’s crime don’t equal the original crime. He should have resigned by now. If he doesn’t, we must remove him.

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