I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed the last few days, between the coming elections and the news cycle, and this morning thought, “why don’t I do an easy one?”
This is a super easy race because I did some in-depth research on the challenger, Michelle MacDonald, in 2014. Then updated it in 2016. So really all you need to know is, never vote for Michelle MacDonald for anything, not even dogcatcher, not even if you’re a Republican. I did find some updates to the ongoing trainwreck that is her career, which I’ve put under the cut.
On the ballot:
So back in 2014, Michelle MacDonald was representing a woman named Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, whose two daughters had “disappeared” because they’d “run away” from their allegedly abusive father. Sandra has since served a prison sentence for custodial interference and these girls were returned to their father. There’s a detailed website filled with information and a forthcoming book about this — I’m really curious about the book (it comes out later this month). Given Michelle’s ongoing connections with the Republican party I think it’s worth noting that Michael Brodkorb, one of the people who authored the website and the book, spent years as a Republican strategist and writer (and I’m pretty sure he’s at least still a Republican, even if he no longer writes a blog called “Minnesota Democrats Exposed.”)
Anyway, it’s not remotely unethical to provide legal defense to someone who actually did the crime, but it’s worth noting that Brodkorb and his co-author Allison Mann have a jailhouse recording that suggests Michelle knew perfectly well that Sandra was responsible for the kidnapping. (The Missing in Minnesota site notes that Michelle is not licensed in Florida and was not representing Sandra in the moment when this conversation took place.) (My father has raised the question of whether it matters that Michelle knew that Sandra was responsible for her daughters’ disappearance. As a general rule, I don’t hold it against lawyers when they defend people they know are guilty — that’s fundamentally what you sign up for as a criminal defense lawyer. Michelle’s involvement with this case went far enough beyond normal lawyer-client stuff that she got named a person of interest by the Lakeville police and when I first researched her in 2014 her Family Innocence Project website was like 90% stuff about Sandra and she committed multiple acts of utterly bizarre misconduct while representing Sandra. Honestly, there are so many many reasons not to vote for her this doesn’t matter all that much; it’s more icing on the cake.)
As the icing on the cake, after years making her representation of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki front-and-center of her work, Michelle MacDonald on her Twitter feed a week or two back re-tweeted someone else’s comment calling Grazzini-Rucki a “nut job.”
If you listen to the jailhouse conversation over on this page I just want to clarify that the first voice you hear, asking “what does 20/20 say?” is Sandra Grazzini-Rucki. The loud, angry voice responding with, “It’s the SYSTEM doing this!” is Michelle MacDonald.
Anyway, can’t wait to read the book. Vote for Margaret Chutich.