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Articles of impeachment filed against AG Ravnsborg moments ahead of Tuesday special session

If the full House chamber elects not to adopt the majority report, Mortenson's articles of impeachment could be considered by the House in Tuesday's special session.

Committee members
Members of the House Select Committee on Investigation listen and take notes during testimony on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, surrounding Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg's crash.
Hunter Dunteman / Mitchell Republic
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PIERRE — Articles of impeachment were filed Tuesday morning, April 12, against South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, approximately one hour before a special session of the House of Representatives meets to determine his fate.

The articles of impeachment, filed by Rep. Will Mortenson, R-Pierre, recognizes the "gravity of an impeachment inquiry" and the "thorough investigation" conducted by the House Select Committee on Investigation, and points to the "extensive record" of evidence collected.

In House Resolution 7002, Mortenson alleges Ravnsborg, acting in virtue of the Office of the Attorney General, committed misdemeanor crime, made numerous misrepresentations and misstatements to law enforcement and the public while misusing the "assets of his office."

The resolution also alleges that, as a result of Ravnsborg "criminal acts" and "wrongful deeds," the attorney general has lost the faith of law enforcement, the executive branch and the people of South Dakota.

The allegations in HR 7002 refer to Ravnsborg's role before, during and after the Sep. 12, 2020, crash in which he struck and killed Joe Boever, a pedestrian walking along a highway at night.

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Ravnsborg has been accused by special agents of the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation of dishonesty during two recorded interviews that briefly were published on the South Dakota Department of Public Safety's website — though those videos were later removed by judge's order.

Rep. Fred Deutsch, R-Florence, also submitted a possible amendment to HR 7002 striking references to malfeasance in office, but maintained some lines referring to crimes in office.

The filing of articles of impeachment comes as lawmakers will meet at 11 a.m. Tuesday to consider adopting the Select Committee's majority report which recommends Ravnsborg not be impeached.

If the full House chamber elects not to adopt the majority report, Mortenson's articles of impeachment could be considered by the House in Tuesday's special session.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021. After over a year in Mitchell, he moved to Milwaukee, where he now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on regional news that impacts the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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