A South Dakota judge has blocked Gov. Kristi Noem from releasing documents and video in the investigation of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg for striking and killing a man with his car.
Attorneys for Ravnsborg, the state’s top law enforcement agent, argued that the release of video of his interviews with investigators and other documents violated his right to a fair trial.
Noem, like Ravnsborg a Republican,had tried to ratchet up pressure earlier in the day on him to resign by saying she would release more crash documents, but the circuit court judge ordered her halt.
Noem took a wait-and-see stance after the accident and after 3 misdemeanor charges were filed last week, but changed her mind after reviewing the investigative materials – especially videos of investigators interviewing Ravnsborg.
The South Dakota House has begun the impeachment process against the attorney general, a move that has Noem’s support and that of Public Safety Secretary Craig Price, who says “maintaining public trust is critical” for law enforcement.
Speaker Spencer Gosch has assigned the impeachment resolution, HRC7001, to the State Affairs Committee, but there’s no timetable yet for hearings. A 10-member committee will decide if Ravnsborg’s conduct constitutes an impeachable offense.
Materials released in recent days have cast doubts on his initial story that he was not distracted, thought he hit a deer, and didn’t see the victim, 55-year old Joe Boever of Highmore, until he returned to the scene the next morning.
Phone records show Ravnsborg logged into a Yahoo email account and visited news sites in the minutes before he called 911 to report hitting a deer.
Investigators say the fact that Boever’s glasses were on the passenger seat means his head went through the windshield.