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SD AG: Benda daughter won't allow opening of file

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news Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

PIERRE (AP) — Attorney General Marty Jackley has reiterated that South Dakota law prevents reporters from reviewing investigative records into the death of a former state economic development director.

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Richard Benda was found dead Oct. 22 in a grove near Lake Andes with a fatal shotgun wound. His death was ruled a suicide.

Jackley earlier agreed to allow reporter Bob Mercer and one other journalist to review a partially redacted version of the file, but only if a member of Benda's immediate family granted written permission.

Jackley said that's the law, and Benda's teenage daughter won't agree to it.

Mercer appealed to an administrative law judge and Jackley filed his response Thursday.

After the administrative law judge rules, either side can appeal to a trial court and then the state Supreme Court.

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