South Dakota Senate convicts and removes state legal professional normal in impeachment trial after he killed pedestrian in 2020


The Senate wanted approval from two-thirds of the Republican-controlled, 35-member chamber to convict and take away Ravnsborg. The vote was 24-9 in favor of conviction and removing on the primary article, committing against the law that triggered the dying of an individual. The vote was 31-2 on the second article, malfeasance in workplace.

The Senate additionally voted to disqualify him from “holding any workplace of belief or revenue underneath the state” sooner or later.

In a daylong trial on Tuesday — the primary impeachment trial within the state’s historical past — prosecutors sought to color Ravnsborg as a distracted driver who lied to try to cowl up his information of placing Joe Boever on September 12, 2020. Ravnsborg referred to as 911 after the incident that night time and mentioned he had “no concept” what smashed his entrance windshield, saying it might have been a deer.

An area sheriff quickly arrived on the scene and neither of the 2 males reported seeing a human physique. Ravnsborg returned the subsequent morning with an aide and located human stays on the scene, then drove to the sheriff to report the physique.

“Wherever his consideration was, it was not on the highway,” prosecuting legal professional Mark Vargo mentioned through the trial on Tuesday.

Prosecutors argued Tuesday that Ravnsborg would go on to inform a number of lies, together with how typically he was utilizing his cellular phone on the drive that night time, how briskly he was driving, the place he was when he hit Boever (he initially mentioned he was nonetheless within the driving lane nevertheless it was later decided he was within the shoulder), and whether or not he noticed the physique on the night time of the incident.

“I do not assume I actually need to quote chapter and verse to a bunch of individuals from South Dakota about integrity and honesty — and why we do not lie in public life,” Vargo mentioned in his closing arguments.

Ravnsborg was current for the listening to however didn’t testify. Prosecutors introduced ahead 5 witnesses, whereas the protection crew put forth no witnesses.

CNN has reached out to Ravnsborg for remark.

In April, the GOP-controlled state Home voted to impeach Ravnsborg on two counts: committing crimes that triggered the dying of an individual and malfeasance in workplace.

Ravnsborg pleaded no contest final yr to 2 misdemeanors associated to the crash. He was ordered to pay a $500 advantageous for every of the misdemeanors — one depend of working a motorcar whereas utilizing a cellular digital gadget and one depend of lane driving. A 3rd misdemeanor cost was dismissed. Ravnsborg didn’t get jail time.

Ravnsborg additionally reached a settlement with the sufferer’s household.

His important protection legal professional, Michael Butler, sought to show all through the trial that Ravnsborg was not on his cellphone within the remaining seconds earlier than the collision and that he cooperated with legislation enforcement at each step.

He urged the Senate to acquit Ravnsborg, saying impeachment warrants a “severe offense,” not a visitors misdemeanor. “The Senate shouldn’t be diminished to a visitors court docket,” he mentioned, including grounds for removing must be thought of “egregious, illegal, and evil.”

“What you do right here in the present day does make historical past in a single kind or one other,” Butler mentioned on the finish of his remarks. He acknowledged that Ravnsborg has already misplaced the arrogance of legislation enforcement and Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, and that he is not operating for reelection. “He isn’t in search of re-election, however he does search to vindicate himself.”

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