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Goss Pleads to Disorderly Conduct; Lawyer Glodt Says Original Charge Unprecedented and Bogus

Kristi Noem and Dan Lederman cry hacking and fear, and all Austin Goss gets is a lousy speeding ticket? Come on, where’s the fun in that?

Fired KSFY/KOTA political reporter Austin Goss wrapped up his prank-call scandal in under a week by pleading guilty in his first (and, alas, say all the bloggers looking for something fun to write about but not the wife and child wanting Dad to get back to work and pay some bills only) court appearance yesterday in Stanley County:

A former broadcast reporter charged with making a prank call using South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s personal cell phone number pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in a plea agreement with Stanley County State’s Attorney Tom Maher.

During a Tuesday afternoon court hearing in Fort Pierre, Austin H. Goss was sentenced to pay $578 in fines and court fees, as well as issue letters of apology to Dan Lederman and Noem.

Goss’s attorney Jason Glodt issued a statement Tuesday, stating that Goss plead guilty to the class two misdemeanor stemming from a prank call that was intended as a practical joke between himself and “a friend.”

“The Court granted Mr. Goss a suspended imposition of sentence so there will be no conviction on his record. I believe it is unfortunate he was charged in the first place but appreciate the willingness of the State’s Attorney to reduce the charge. The crime of disorderly conduct is on the same level as a speeding ticket,” the statement reads.

…Glodt said Goss made the call under the assumption that he was doing so amongst friends, noting that he regularly exchanged banter with members of Noem’s staff and Lederman himself.

Goss told the court he was immensely sorry for his actions and lack of judgment, saying “It’s a mistake I’ll live with for the rest of my life” [Shannon Marvel, “Goss to Pay Fine, Receives Suspended Imposition of Sentence,” Pierre Capital Journal, 2023.05.09].

Wait a minute: disorderly conduct? Disorderly conduct is kicking in chairs and knocking down tables (that’s when you call the policethere’s a madman around!) Goss may be less guilty of that crime than the misleading contact charge with which the state initially tried to hang him. Read SDCL 22-18-35:

22-18-35Disorderly conduct–Misdemeanor.

Any person who intentionally causes serious public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to any other person, or creates a risk thereof by:

  1. Engaging in fighting or in violent or threatening behavior;
  2. Making unreasonable noise;
  3. Disturbing any lawful assembly or meeting of persons without lawful authority; or
  4. Obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic;

is guilty of disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct is a Class 2 misdemeanor. However, if the defendant has been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty to, three or more violations of this section, within the preceding ten years, the defendant is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor for any fourth or subsequent offense [SDCL 22-18-35, last amended 2007].

Setting a computer service to prank-call one guy is not a serious public inconvenience. The silly call may have annoyed and alarmed the humorless snowflake Dan Lederman, but the call did not constitute a fight, violent or threatening behavior, disturbance of a meeting, or an obstruction of vehicular or pedestrian traffic. The call can’t even be called unreasonable noise, because no one but Dan Lederman heard it, and he’s in control of the volume on his phone (unless has a special feature that takes control of the target’s phone and cranks the volume to make a fart sound that everyone can hear, which would be stinking hilarious for those of us forever in middle school but would definitely constitute hacking).

But to avoid the Class 1 misdemeanor charge and snuff out this scandal, Goss pled to this lesser crime that he may not have committed.

And wait another minute: Goss considers Lederman a friend? Boy, with friends like Dan who will call the cops over a transparent prank call, who needs enemies?

And wait a third minute: Jason Glodt represented Goss? Jason Glodt is a career establishment Republican lawyer who managed Marty Jackley’s 2018 campaign for Governor against Kristi Noem. How does one knuckleheaded reporter who handed Kristi Noem an easy plank to add to her platform of undermining public confidence in the media get a Republican player like Jason Glodt to defend him?

Glodt claims that he’s not the only Republican who thinks Goss got the shaft:

Goss’ attorney Jason Glodt says the prank call is an unfortunate case and that charges shouldn’t have filed, but appreciates Stanley County States Attorney Tom Maher’s willingness to reduce the charge. He added a number of state lawmakers who passed the bill that the charges came from in 2022 have reached out expressing remorse about the law leading to this result. Glodt believes Goss is the first person to have been charged under the law [Zach Nelson, “Goss Makes Plea Deal to Plead Guilty on Lesser Disorderly Conduct Charge in Noem Phone Prank,” KCCR Radio, 2023.05.09].

The new and untested law to which Glodt refers is 2022 House Bill 1214, which added the misleading contact clause as part 5 of SDCL 49-31-31, which says you can’t call someone and rig your phone to mask your number with someone else’s number without that someone else’s permission. The prime sponsors of 2022 HB 1214 were then-Speaker Spencer Gosch (R-23/Glenham) and alas-still-Senator Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen). The sponsors were mostly Republicans, so Glodt is signaling that he and other key members of the Republican establishment thought their former chairman Lederman’s complaint was bogus. Pointing out the unprecedented use of this statute adds to the sense that this complaint and prosecution were at least a personal and perhaps a political contrivance that violated the Legislative intent of the 2022 law.

Of course, if the charges shouldn’t have been filed, then Goss shouldn’t have pled; he and Glodt should have opened the can of whoop-ass that only establishment Republicans can open in South Dakota’s incestuous political atmosphere and ground Lederman and his fellow nuts into powder.

But former (and future?) reporter Goss has work to do and bills to pay, and shutting down this national headline generator just five days after the charges led to his firing is probably in Goss’s best practical interest. Goss pays a fine that is a fraction of the cost of more lawyering and work time missed for consultations and court. He gets a sentence for a minor misdemeanor that officially disappears from his record if he behaves himself for one year. And he still gets his lawyer, a good Republican lawyer, to place on the record with the court of public opinion statements that suggest this fracas was a political put-up job.

p.s.: Wait just one more minute—Governor Noem has declined to comment on this dubious prosecution, but she made sure her taxpayer-funded lawyer, general counsel Katie Hruska, was in the courtroom yesterday, even though Hruska was not one of the prosecuting attorneys and even though Noem herself did not file the complaint that prompted this show.


  1. P. Aitch 2023-05-10 07:00

    First thought: “They fired him before he was convicted?” Where I live (i.e. a liberal town near a liberal city in a lovely liberal state) you’d get an unpaid leave of absence until the details were all in. Then maybe a month’s suspension. Even Tucker what’s his name didn’t get fired! C’mon, boss. Don’t be such a wimp to your bully Governor and her slimy friends. Reinstate Goss. The MAGA’s didn’t give him any credibility even before this harmless prank.

  2. sx123 2023-05-10 07:08

    To Legislature: Quit passing petty legislation.

  3. e platypus onion 2023-05-10 08:42

    NY Post is on this story. One can only imagine the righteous indignation they must feel that anyone could be so cruel to Northern Mississippi’s latest iteration of a Barbie (without shrimp on it).

  4. Donald Pay 2023-05-10 09:11

    Disorderly conduct is used when someone is overcharged and wants to plead to what everyone understands to be a bogus, but seemingly less serious charge just to be done with it. This is an injustice. If someone digs into it, they will find Noem ramrodded weak AG Jackley into bogus charges.

  5. O 2023-05-10 10:08

    A common thread is revealing itself for our GOP Snowflake friends: use the courts (that THEY own) to punish those who cross them, BUT use those same courts to avoid accountability for their own wrongs. The next step in all this (under these new rules) is for Goss to sue the Governor for her false claims against him, and vindicate himself; then, use that vindication to sue his employer for his job back.

    Only in court under penalty of perjury will any truth ever come out. Otherwise, lying is the expectation ALL THE TIME.

  6. Mark Anderson 2023-05-10 16:11

    But he Scared them Cory, he Scared them. Therapy is in order.

  7. grudznick 2023-05-10 17:20

    Right to work state. Mr. Goss has a right to work harder, and the New Now fellows have a right to not employee Mr. Goss, who is very young and impulsive. Mr. Glodt is not likely to be working hard to get the establishment mainline fellows and gal empowered.

Comments are closed.