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Ravnsborg impeachment trial offers no updates, answers

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Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 4:59 PM MST
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PIERRE, S.D. - It has been a month since the South Dakota State House convened to create a committee to consider the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.

Since then, the “Special Investigative Committee on Impeachment” has met one time.

“The impeachment committee right now is working on getting our legal counsel for the committee, said State Rep. Jamie Smith (D-Sioux Falls), a member of the committee. “Once that is in place, I believe we will be moving forward.”

Smith and eight other members of the select committee voted to allow for the selection of special counsel during their brief meeting on November 10th.

After the initial one, no such meetings have occurred, nor have any announcements been made in regards to who would be hired as special counsel to help guide the committee.

Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham), who heads the committee, says that part of the reason for the delay is because of a number of lawsuits, or threats of lawsuits, that he and the Legislative Research Council (LRC) have faced.

“In the process of finding special counsel we have run into a few hiccups,” Gosch said. “Whether that be frivolous lawsuits from certain media entities, that takes up a ton of our time, or just threats thereof. Ultimately, we have run into other hiccups too. We are still on the right path and will have more updates as they come.”

Gosch also confirmed that the impeachment committee will not meet next week, due to “scheduling conflicts.” The following week is the week of Christmas.

Governor Kristi Noem has publicly called for Ravnsborg’s resignation, and fostered the release of the investigative report and associated documents to Gosch in September.

Now, Noem says she does not want to comment on the legislative process.

“I am not going to weigh in, I think everyone knows my personal feelings about whether the Attorney General should stay in his position or not,” Noem said. “The legislature has their process. I think them getting briefed, and getting the full information that is in the investigative report is incredibly important for them to make the right decision.”

Gosch says that the committee cannot proceed without the guidance of special counsel, but hopes to have that role determined soon.

Ravnsborg’s spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.

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