Appellate Briefs Reveal More Shocking Behavior in Rucki Case

** BREAKING NEWS ** From Michael Volpe and PPJ Gazette reporting on the appellate cases of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and Dede Evavold

Briefs Reveal More Shocking Behavior in Rucki Case.

“In separate response briefs to pro se attorneys, the Dakota County Prosecutor’s Office has acknowledged jury tampering, misdirected an allegation of witness tampering, and refused to respond to address all allegations of judicial misconduct in the Rucki case.

The briefs from Dakota County Prosecutor James Backstrom were in response to briefs filed by Dede Evavold and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, both representing themselves.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom

 

Evavold has been representing herself after the state ruled her too well off to receive an attorney while Grazzini-Rucki was represented but was so disgusted by her attorney’s brief that she filed one on her own.

Her attorney, Steven Russett, who was provided by the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender’s Office, did not respond to an email and voicemail for comment.

In the most startling admission, the prosecutors acknowledge- responding to Grazzini-Rucki- that a reporter approached the jury while they were in a common area during a lunch break and asked if any wanted to be interviewed when the trial ended.

The reporter’s name is Laura Adelmann, who works for the Sun Current, the hometown newspaper of Lakeville, Minnesota, where the Rucki’s live. “There was one occasion during trial in which it was it was reported to Judge Asphaug that a reporter (I.E. Laura Adelmann) had approached the jurors while they were eating in the common area of the courthouse and asked if she could interview them after the trial was over.” Backstrom’s brief stated.

 This incident occurred on Friday July 18, 2016, while the trial was ongoing, and on Monday July 21, 2016, Judge Asphaug issued this statement to the court gallery.

I also received information that a member of the press approached our jurors last week and asked if jurors would be willing to speak after the trial. It is- I am ordering that you may not approach the jurors in the common area of the courthouse. It is- it has a chilling effect. It concerns jurors don’t do it.” An email to Adelmann was left unreturned. A voicemail to her editor, Tad Johnson, was also left unreturned.

Judge Karen Asphaug

Though the trial was covered internationally there was not one story which referred to Asphaug’s statement while the trial was ongoing.

Emails to Karen Zamora and Brandon Stahl, who each covered parts of the trial for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, were left unreturned.

An email to Michael Brodkorb, who has boasted that he covered each day of the trial, was also left unreturned.

Emails to 20/20 host, Elizabeth Vargas, and her two producers, Beth Mullin and Sean Dooley, were also left unreturned; 20/20 covered parts of the trial though it’s not clear if they were there that day.

Beau Berentson said “Our office does not conduct legal research,” in an email.

But when asked if an investigation had been started or if anyone had been disciplined for allowing press to get so close to the jury- a major break in protocol according to everyone this reporter spoke with- Berentson did not respond.

While lawyers who spoke with this reporter said it was unprecedented that press would ever get so close to a jury during trial, they were split on its significance.

Michael McCray, a United States Department of Agriculture whistleblower and lawyer, said he believed that such an interaction would cause all sorts of thoughts to enter a jury’s head “not one will be about the merits of the case.”

Lee Dryer is a Nashville attorney and part-time judge.

No trial is perfect,” Dryer said, but was less concerned since nothing about the case was discussed.

Dryer said he was more concerned with an allegation of witness tampering; Samantha Rucki, Grazzini-Rucki’s daughter who ran away, responded to Kelli Coughlin a Lakeville Police Department Detective, who asked her if she was at a police interview conducted approximately a month before her mother’s trial.

This police interview occurred approximately a month prior to her mother’s trial on June 30, 2016.

They (her father and his sister) basically said I have to (go to the interview) and I have to be here and I have to recant everything I said and it’s going and that’s the way it’s gonna be- and they made me feel guilty about it and I started to cry.” Samantha responded when asked if she was at the interview of her own free will.

Judge Asphaug refused to allow the interview into Grazzini-Rucki’s trial, Samantha Rucki testified by Skype, with her aunt, grandmother, and attorney in the same room but not in camera, her father was listening in from outside the door.

David Rucki Facebook April 2016, Public Statement About Missing Daughters

Furthermore, Judge Asphaug would only allow a limited number of questions. Samantha then downplayed the abuse and claimed she ran away to get away from a bad divorce.

Dryer said that having Samantha testify by Skype raises sixth amendment issues, of a defendant confronting their accuser.

Judge Asphaug argued that Samantha was too fragile to see her mother, but child rape victims are forced to confront their alleged rapist if that rapist is to be convicted.

In their response brief, prosecutors argued that since they weren’t directly involved in the witness tampering, they shouldn’t be held responsible.

Appellant (Evavold) fails to detail what misconduct Respondent (Dakota County Prosecutor) engaged in. In support of her argument, Appellant points to an interview that was conducted by law enforcement of SVR (Samantha). Appellant is under the misbelief that Respondent somehow coerced SVR into providing the statement and that SVR lied in the statement.

The prosecutor’s brief only alludes to a police interview but does not detail what Samantha said in the interview.

Dede Evavold also argued that there was judicial and prosecutorial misconduct, charges not answered by Backstrom.

Judge Asphaug placed herself on Evavold’s, Grazzini-Rucki’s, and the Dahlen’s cases, and refused to recuse herself when each of the four defendants asked.

Furthermore, in 2010, she appears to have fixed a case for David Rucki.

On September 8, 2009, David Rucki went into a fit of rage against his neighbors while they were escorting approximately a dozen two and three-year-old children to the daycare facility they ran.

Complainant stated his wife, two children, and six daycare kids ages three and under were in the driveway when suspect (David Rucki) approached. He stated the suspect threatened his wife, his son, and called them all assholes while standing in the cul-de-sac in front of their home. While I was speaking with the complainant, he informed me that the suspect drove by as we were speaking and put up his middle finger on his left hand at him. Complainant said that they have had on-going harassment type issues with the suspect and his dogs as a result of operating a home daycare facility. He said suspect’s dogs repeatedly come into his yard when daycare parents and kids arrive, barking and growling and the guests as the children are dropped off. He said they have tried to talk to the suspect in the past to mediate the situation, but that he no longer feels comfortable due to elevated language and behavior.

Rucki was charged with disorderly conduct and the case came in front of Judge Asphaug. On the eve of trial, Asphaug dismissed the case for a lack of probable cause, an inexplicable decision which has never been explained.

Lack of probable cause applies to cases with little or no evidence not an incident witnessed by several adults and approximately twelve children. Furthermore, if a case is dismissed due to a lack of probable cause it would be during normal pre-trial hearings, not on the eve of trial, and there’s no evidence that any sort of motion was even filed to trigger this.

Asphaug proceeded to exclude approximately 90% of the evidence of abuse: including David Rucki’s police report, all Child Protective Services reports, all orders for protection against David Rucki, and letters, from Sandra Grazzini Rucki’s, Dede Evavold’s, and the Dahlen’s trials.

Backstrom’s office provided answers to most of the charges of judicial misconduct but not all.

For instance, in their reply brief, the prosecution claims that Grazzini-Rucki only referred to three items as being excluded: The Fox 9 Newscast from June 2013, the GPS tracker from when David Rucki placed a tracker under Grazzini-Rucki’s friend and advocate’s car, Michael Rhedin, and Social Services records.

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

But while Grazzini-Rucki did complain about these, and their exclusion is significant, police reports, letters, and other recordings were also excluded; Sandra Grazzini-Rucki complained of clear judicial bias.

The prosecution downplayed in its brief the breadth of the evidence excluded during trial.

Backstrom’s office did not respond to emails for comment.”

Impoverished David Rucki Hires 2 Private Law Firms

David Rucki - Screenshot taken from ABC video. Source: CDN.

David Rucki – Screenshot taken from ABC video. Source: CDN.

David Rucki claims indigence, hires two private lawyers by Michael Volpe (CDN)

(Lakeville, Minnesota) “New information shows that David Rucki, whose contentious divorce and custody case received national media attention, hired two private law firms at the same time he claimed he was on public assistance.”

Attempts to further investigate have been challenged,“An email to James Backstrom, the head prosecutor whose office prosecuted Sandra Grazzini-Rucki for her role in her daughters’ disappearance, asking if this apparent welfare fraud would be prosecuted was left unreturned.

An email to Lakeville, Minnesota, David Rucki’s home town, Mayor Matt Little was also left unreturned; Little put out a Facebook post when the news of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s conviction was publicized congratulating Backstrom’s office; CDN asked Little if he favored an investigation of David Rucki into this alleged welfare fraud in the interest of fairness…”

Some additional information:

1. Lisa M. Elliott filed a responsive affidavit in July 2015, stating she has represented David Rucki since May 2011 and charges $310 an hour for her services.

 

Responsive Affidavit, Lisa Elliot, 7/2/2015

Responsive Affidavit, Lisa Elliot, 7/2/2015

 

2. The second attorney is Marshall H. Tanick, who represented Rucki in writing letters to two blog administrators, threatening civil claims “…that could lead to litigation seeking substantial damages against you and others“. Hellmuth and Johnson letter to Dede Evavold on behalf of David Rucki It is not clear if Rucki continues to retain Marshall H. Tanick.

3. Dede Evavold has filed a witness tampering complaint against Rucki in connection with this letter: Dede’s Criminal Complaint For Witness Tampering Against David Rucki & Former Star Tribune Hack Michael Brodkorb

The letter was sent to Mayor Matt Little (Lakeville), who is reportedly refusing to accept the complaint.

Dede wrote in her complaint: “After returning home on Sunday, June 12, 2016 I found what I consider a harassing and threatening extortion letter in my mailbox. The extortion letter was from David Rucki’s attorney Marsahll H. Tanick, Attorney at Law, Hellmuth & Johnson, PLLC.

I had a reasonable suspicion the wild, outrageous and unsubstantiated claims contained in the harassing and threatening extortion letter were meant to intimidate me into deleting the blog, Red Herring Alert, that I shared with Susan Carpenter. I also had a reasonable suspicion that Rucki’s harassing and threatening extortion letter was designed to coerce me into changing not only my plea but to coerce me into changing my testimony in Sandra’s rigged case.”

4. A complaint was previously filed against Tammy Jo Love, David Rucki’s sister, for medical assistance fraud in 2014.

Allegations include: Receiving medical assistance (MA) benefits for the Rucki children who do not live with her, and do not qualify for MA. Abusing her license as a chiropractor to illegally gain access to Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and the children’s private medical information.

No public information is available on what happened after this complaint was filed; it appears no action was taken. Criminal charges were not filed.

https://www.scribd.com/doc/312673149/Tammy-Jo-Love-Ma-Fraud-Report-to-Dhs

Rucki is now employed with a trucking business being held in the name of his sister, T.L. Rucki Trucking. Rucki claims he has no ownership in T.L. Rucki Trucking, but reports that he is running the business from his home.  At the same time, Love’s vacation rental condo is listed as the business address. Paystubs issued from T.L. Rucki Trucking have been submitted to the Court to support Rucki’s statement that he is impoverished, and qualifies for medical assistance.

David Rucki’s Attorney, Lisa Elliott.  (Source: Red Herring Alert)

David Rucki’s Attorney, Lisa Elliott. (Source: Red Herring Alert)

 

5. Lisa Elliot has been implicated in a complaint of mortgage fraud involving David Rucki: Another Day in Lawless Lakeville: Fraud & Financial Abuse Allegations Surround David Rucki

Mortgage Fraud Allegations, Ireland Place. Rucki was accused of laundering money through real estate transactions. Other allegations include: Mortgage stacking, Title washing and Foreclosure fraud. Others accused involved: Robert Shingledecker, Sawbill Strategic, Inc., Attorney Lisa Elliott, Jacob Sellers, NJD Properties, LLC and Danmark Properties, LLC.

According to the complaint, “David Rucki and his attorney Lisa Elliot represented the estate in the foreclosure action. In 2012 and 2013 the defendants are alleged to have illegally washed the title of 19675 Ireland Place property of the original mortgage to make a new dollar mortgage obtained in the name of the above identified individuals and companies.  Proceeds of the stacked mortgage flowed into accounts controlled by David Rucki and other numerous parties, leads back to David Rucki and his attorney Lisa Elliot. This property is and has been in foreclosure (and foreclosed on), for sale (and sold 3 different times) in sheriff’s sale (and sold through sheriff’s sale) 7 different times in the last 10 months.

Source: Red Herring Alert Ireland Place Mortgage Fraud Allegations & Documentation

For more info:

Grazzini-Rucki Child Support Hearing Raises Concerns of Fraud, Abuse of Discretion

 

 

 

Backlash Against Backstrom in the Aftermath of Grazzini-Rucki Verdict

barbwireheart

Local Citizens Rally Support for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, Express Disgust with Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom…

(July 28, 2016) Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was found guilty of six counts of felony deprivation of parental rights. This occurred after substantial amounts of evidence were suppressed by Judge Karen Asphaug, and withheld from the jury.

Judge Karen J Asphaug

Judge Karen J Asphaug

After the verdict was read, Sandra was taken into custody. A strange move considering that Sandra had been released on her own recognizance (Feb. 24th) after the original $1 million bail was dropped. Sandra  poses no threat to society, and there are no indications that she is a flight risk. She has no prior criminal history, has remained law abiding, and has attended all court dates. Despite this, bail was set at $100,000 without conditions or $50,000 with conditions. Attorney Stephen Grigsby said it is “incomprehensible” how the court could increase her bail.

Citizens from Dakota County and surrounding areas expressed disgust at County Attorney James Backstrom and his mishandling of the case. The citizens showed up at the courthouse in a strong show of solidarity to give donations to contribute towards Sandra’s bond, so that she would be released from jail.

There were comments heard among the crowd – they were upset with James Backstrom that he exploited Grazzini-Rucki case for political reasons and that the children were subjected to unnecessary trauma. One anonymous comment, “The county used this case to try to make a point, and exploited the children.Another concern was that Dakota County exaggerated the Grazzini-Rucki case, and incurred unnecessary expense with tax payer dollars.

County Attorney James Backstrom

County Attorney James Backstrom

Due to their efforts, and support, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was released on bond. Sentencing is scheduled for September 21st.