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Ravnsborg Submits Four PDFs for Impeachment Defense

With just days to go until the Senate convenes to try impeached Attorney General and killer Jason Ravnsborg, the Legislative Research Council has finally rearranged the 170+ impeachment documents from a pile of files alphabetized by often opaque filename into a manageable outline by type and topic.

LRC now presents the documents in three main groups: exhibits submitted by the Prosecution, exhibits submitted by the Respondent, and administrative items for the Senate Court of Impeachment.

The administrative items include the appointment and engagement letters for prosecutors Mark Vargo and Ashley Tracy and for Senate President’s counsel Matt Michels. That section posts the subpoenas for the prosecution’s eight law-enforcement witnesses. That section also offers the terse denial of the impeachment allegations and admission of service from Ravnsborg’s attorney, Michael Butler.

We’ve discussed the significant Prosecution documents, which were submitted in timely compliance with the June 1 deadline. The new Respondent documents section includes only four exhibits recently submitted by Butler:

  1. BCI Report Bates Numbered: This PDF may actually be multiple exhibits: it consists mostly of evidence related directly to Ravnsborg’s vehicular killing of pedestrian Joseph Boever:  North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations interviews with Ravnsborg and Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek; a two-page excerpt from the transcript of BCI’s second interview with Ravnsborg on September 30, 2020, showing Ravnsborg’s willingness to take a polygraph test and BCI Special Agent Arnie Rummel’s statement that Ravnsborg has been cooperative “from the beginning”; a few photos of the crime scene, Ravnsborg’s damaged car, and Boever’s lit flashlight, found at the crime scene the morning after Ravnsborg’s crash. This document also includes the South Dakota Supreme Court’s decision in State ex rel. Steffen (2000), in which the Court held that the trial court had discretion to not remove Gregory County Register of Deeds Jerry Peterson for mishandling county funds. (Peterson is not known to have stolen any county funds or used them for personal gain, let alone killed anyone and lied about it like Ravnsborg.)
  2. Ravnsborg’s September 15, 2020, consent to search his iPhone.
  3. House Committee Report Bates Numbered: Again, more than what the title suggests, this PDF includes the minutes of the House impeachment investigation hearing minutes from January 18–19 and February 24, 2022, and the majority and minority reports of the committee. Tucked at the bottom of this PDF is Sheriff Volek’s two-page report on the Ravnsborg crash and the discovery the next day of Boever’s corpse at the edge of Highway 14.
  4. Supreme Court Craig v. Jensen: The Respondent submits this 1938 South Dakota Supreme Court opinion, as does the Prosecution. The 1938 Court upheld the Governor’s authority to remove an appointee for “slight” misconduct. Unbeknownst to those who just read the filename, this PDF also includes Arielle Zionts’s April 19 SDPB report noting that Ravnsborg’s lenient sentence for killing a man with his car is typical of sentences South Dakota courts dish out for such vehicular violence.

The court documents submitted by Butler show print timestamps of June 13 at 6:55 a.m. and 7:01 a.m. We may thus assume that the Respondent submitted these four documents just this week. Thanks to the LRC’s organization of the impeachment documents page, we may now watch for any last-minute submissions, like Ravnsborg’s desperate and sloppy plea to the House the night before the House impeachment vote, before the Senate convenes on Tuesday.


  1. Arlo Blundt 2022-06-18 14:54

    Ravensberg’s defense is quite straight forward…It was an accident, I was confused following the accident, I thought it was a deer, I left further investigation up to the Sheriff. I fully cooperated with the investigation. I’ve been to court and pled no contest to two misdemeanors. His defense won’t matter…he must be flushed down the memory hole.

  2. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-06-18 17:05

    It’s the Bart Simpson defense (doh!) “I didn’t do it. “Nobody saw me do it. You can’t prove anything.”
    Although, IIRC, he didn’t actually appear in court personally.

  3. Kurt Evans 2022-06-18 19:48

    Joe Boever took nearly a month’s worth of the psychotropic drug lorazepam in less than 36 hours, disabled his truck by smashing it into a bale beside the highway hard enough to force the grille guard back into the grille, left town on foot after dark, didn’t ask anyone for a ride, declined a ride offered by a passing motorist, and never told anyone why he was out there.

    Jason told the 911 dispatcher seconds after the crash that what he’d hit was “right in the roadway.” I’m not seeing how that could have been anything but a spontaneous exclamation of the truth or an intentional lie, and I’m not seeing how Jason could have thought such a lie would work to his advantage.

    Governor Noem’s DPS secretary and rabid Marty Jackley supporter Craig Price says some unknown distraction had caused Jason to drive all four wheels across the rumble strip, ten feet outside the white line and roughly a foot from the edge of the pavement, coincidentally at the very spot where Joe was supposedly “walking.”

    It seems to me that Joe was probably in the driving lane to commit suicide, and Jason probably looked down at the speedometer as he was transitioning between speed zones. Joe’s impact with the right side of the car probably angled it onto the shoulder, where his body was probably struck for a second time when it came off the hood. This all may have happened within a second or two, in the dark, so suddenly that Jason didn’t even realize it.

    It seems to me that the prior momentum of Joe’s body to the northwest as it came off the hood in the above scenario could account for the much-discussed discrepancy in the trend lines. That scenario would also explain why the collision on the shoulder didn’t angle the car into the ditch, as well as why all of the blood from the amputation was on the bottom right side of the car, with none of it on the top of the car.

    I hope Jason isn’t going to rely on some technical, legalese defense this week, even if it’s valid. If the initial impact with Joe had been on the shoulder, Jason probably should have resigned.

  4. larry kurtz 2022-06-18 21:53

    Mr. Evans believes a supernatural extraterrestrial created the universe some 6000 years ago so his imagined forensic narrative of American medicine bringing down a compromised public figure who also happens to be a fellow reproductive failure is hardly unsurprising. Jason Ravnsborg isn’t the victim here but he certainly represents the failure of christianic religionism in saving an unrepentant liar.

  5. larry kurtz 2022-06-18 21:57

    “Access to healthcare and health insurance: Kurt Evans says the government should never have gotten involved in healthcare. Says the skyrocket in cost is because of government involvement. @SDPBNews #SDElection18” — Lee Strubinger

  6. Kurt Evans 2022-06-18 22:31

    Larry Kurtz writes of me:

    Mr. Evans believes a supernatural extraterrestrial created the universe some 6000 years ago so his imagined forensic narrative … is hardly unsurprising.

    I’m pretty sure you meant hardly surprising there, not hardly unsurprising. Hardly unsurprising is a double negative that means surprising:

    Why would you say Joe was out on the highway that night, Larry? And if the collision on the shoulder happened before his body went onto the hood rather than after it came off, why didn’t his amputated leg leave any blood on the top of the car?

  7. bearcreekbat 2022-06-19 01:05

    I may be mistaken but it is my understanding that individuals with actual training in accident reconstruction visited the scene and studied the physical evidence. These individuals have reportedly concluded that Ravnsborg drove “all four wheels across the rumble strip, ten feet outside the white line and roughly a foot from the edge of the pavement” at the spot where Joe was walking. I don’t recall seeing any claim by Craig Price about how Joe was killed other than pretty much repeating what the actual experts that conducted the investigation of the scene and physical evidence reported.

    In addition, while I have read Evans’ repeated assertions here on DFP about a version of the facts that he claims happened, I have not seen any claim on DFP that Evans himself investigated the actual scene or has any training or expertise in accident reconstruction, nor that he hired someone with such expertise to conduct an independent investigation.

    I do note that I have not read any attempt by Evans to explain on DFP how the publicly reported physical symptoms someone experiences from an extreme overdose of lorazepam might be consistent with the jumping out in the middle of the road theory Evans has been regurgitating. As has been previously linked here at DFP for Evans perusal these reported symptoms include disorientation, blurry vision, involuntary muscle contractions, reduced muscle strength, decreased reflexes and impaired reaction time, profoundly lowered blood pressure, severely slowed breathing, unresponsiveness, coma, and death, which all seem likely to impair someones ability to plan a walk along a highway in order to jump in front of a speeding car.

    Given Evans’ apparent lack of any expertise in accident reconstruction or actual investigation of the scene and other physical evidence, his arguments seem substantially less credible or rational than the conclusions of the actual accident reconstruction experts and/or investigators involved in the actual investigation. Add to that the reported nature of lorazepam overdose symptoms, coupled with the impressions of investigators that actually interviewed Ravnsborg in person, and the regurgated claims of Evans lose even more credibility and rationality.

    I acknowledge that I am not an expert in accident reconstruction. I haven’t conducted any interviews with Ravnsborg or other witnesses to information about that terrible night’s events. I haven’t personally been able to examine either his car, the roadway, nor any of the other available physical evidence. I am not a doctor, pharmacist, nor in any way an expert on lorazepam overdoses. From what I have read here on DFP, however, it appears that I am in exactly the same circumstances as Evans in my ability to evaluate the actual facts of this tragedy. It seems more logical to me to rely on the conclusions of actual accident reconstruction experts, investigators conducting interviews, published medical information about lorazepam, rather than to give Evans’ apparently unsupported factual claims and conclusions any weight whatsoever. Nuff said.

  8. larry kurtz 2022-06-19 06:44

    “Kurt Evans is questioning the narrative of the earth being billions of years old.” — Lee Strubinger

    Whatever Joe Boever’s state of mind Jason Ravnsborg crossed the fog line and dismembered Joe with his car then lied about it.

  9. 96Tears 2022-06-19 08:52

    No doubt that DFP is now the only place to receive relevant news on South Dakota politics. Its downside is the leniency extended to Mr. Evans to go far, far beyond stating his personal opinions that operate outside the set of commonly held and expert-driven facts to inject his absurd and baseless beliefs.

    I think we all, except for Mr. Evans, can agree that his absurd stubbornness supporting his false and contrived narrative at this point is heaping his cruelty, stupidity and vindictiveness against the victim Joe Boever and Joe’s family and loved ones.

    As Jason Ravnsborg did that fateful September night, Mr. Evans has crossed the line and is victimizing innocent people. The only difference is Ravnsborg wasn’t aware of his recklessness until it was too late.

  10. mike from iowa 2022-06-19 08:56

    Maybe Evans is a closet magat with alternative facts to fit his narrative. It isn’t like we haven’t seen alternative facts before. Or what they do to a person’s credibility.

  11. Jake 2022-06-19 17:54

    Briefly, it appears Evan’s take is that “Boever should explain why he was exercising his right to walk at nite on a public hi-way, carrying a flashlite so motorists could ‘see’ him. Also, from his description of the sudden impact, it one could easily think he was “hit’ twice in the same instant. Simply, his leg was torn off by the front wheel upon impact with the hooded fender. Any doubts Kurt?

  12. 96Tears 2022-06-20 17:21

    Cory, I am curious to know if the proceedings will be accessible live through some kind of visual and audio media. What are the limitations for public attendance in the gallery and live streaming it from one’s chair? Will the media be allowed to sit and record from the press box in the Senate chamber?

    With the bizarre limits on press and photos during the court proceedings (for two misdemeanors for God’s sake!), I wonder if the special session will have prohibitions outside of what is normal procedure during Senate floor actions. It really should be easily accessed and recorded because of its historic (and entertaining) status.

    It sounds like it’s going to run long and intense. Lots of squirming and sweating. Maher better bring some pitchers of iced lemonade and a hand fan. Greenfield, another really big boy, might need an ankle monitor to keep him from drifting down to the St. Charles for a few shooters.

  13. grudznick 2022-06-20 17:36

    They are, Mr. Tears. They will be shown on the computer TVs live across the internets.

  14. grudznick 2022-06-20 17:38

    Mr. Greenfield probably has other options besides the local barrel house. But he’s a solid fellow, so to speak, and will be diligently listening to the evidence and arguments. Probably won’t even get lunch.

  15. Curt 2022-06-20 17:52

    Brockie Greenfield has likely NEVER missed lunch. That will not change this week.

  16. P. Aitch 2022-06-20 18:05

    I’ll wager a lumberjack sized breakfast with bottomless mimosas, bloody Mary’s, or michelada’s that Ravnsborg won’t lose his AG job.

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-06-20 18:28

    96, Bob Mercer offers some details on which spectators get to sit where. I imagine there could be some thorniness on the question of pictures when the prosecution displays pictures of Joe Boever’s remains… and if the Senate President asked that reporters cover their cameras while such exhibits are displayed for the Senate, I’d understand. I would like to think they can avoid such prior restraint by making the most sensitive pictures available only to legislators on their laptops and not displaying such items on a big screen.

    SDPB does have links up on to webcast both the Senate trial and whatever monkey business the House plans to do. (Yes, surprisingly, the House is convening tomorrow, too.) I keenly hope we get video. KELO and KSFY should drop their daytime programming and give the impeachment trial live coverage. This is an event all South Dakotans should see.

  18. grudznick 2022-06-20 18:49

    What, in Satan’s name, is a michelada? Is it a froo froo drink? Mr. Greenfield probably never drinks froo froo drinks. But he is probably a fellow well accustomed to lumberjack breakfasts. grudznick would sure like to be there to treat him to one before the trial of the killer begins.

  19. P. Aitch 2022-06-20 19:25

    It’s obvious by grudznick’s obfuscation, evasiveness, shuffling, deception, fudging and waffling that it wants none of my wagering proposal.
    Got your goats tied and castrated, old man. Heh heh HO

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