Judge Asphaug imposed the unusual sentence after disallowing nearly all of the evidence Grazzini-Rucki intended to use in support of her affirmative defense. Grazzini-Rucki argued that she hid her daughters to protect them from an unsafe environment.
The criminal record of Grazzini-Rucki’s ex-husband, David Rucki including a bar fight, road rage incident, numerous incidents of stalking and numerous violations of orders for protection, were all disallowed.
Child Protection reports, including one made by Nico Rucki in which he claimed his father held a gun to his head, were also disallowed.…”
This article by Michael Volpe discusses the allegations of abuse raised by Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and children, and describes the dramatic events leading up to the disappearance of the Rucki sisters. It also includes Sandra’s full statement, to be read by her family law attorney, after sentencing.
Volpe attempted to contact numerous sources for comment including Judge Asphaug, Beau Berentson public affairs officer for the Minnesota courts, the Lakeville police, the Dakota County Prosecutor’s office, attorney Lisa Elliott and others, who did not respond.
Volpe also attempted to contact reporter Brandon Stahl to ask several questions about the case – including asking Stahl why he has declined to write about Rucki’s extensive criminal history, and declined to write about S. Rucki’s June 30, 2016 interview with police.
Volpe reports: “In that interview Samantha Rucki said she was pressured into recanting by her father, running away was her idea, and she reiterated her father was an abuser .
She recanted when called as a witness saying she ran away to get away from the divorce but Judge Asphaug refused to allow her June 30 interview into evidence at Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s trial.” In the June 30 interview with police, S. Rucki said she was pressured and “guilted” into recanting by Rucki and Tammy Jo Love.
During the criminal trial, Judge Asphaug took the unusual move to have S. Rucki testify by Skype, and out of view of the jury. David Rucki, paternal aunt Tammy Jo Love, grandmother Vicki Rucki, and attorney Lisa Elliott, were all in the room but remained out of view of the jury. Judge Asphaug also limited the questions the Defense was allowed to ask, thereby making their defense ineffective.