South Dakota Senate convicts and removes state attorney general in impeachment trial after he killed pedestrian in 2020

  • July 5, 2022

The Senate needed approval from two-thirds of the Republican-controlled, 35-member chamber to convict and remove Ravnsborg. The vote was 24-9 in favor of conviction and removal on the first article, committing a crime that caused the death of a person. The vote was 31-2 on the second article, malfeasance in office.

The Senate also voted to disqualify him from “holding any office of trust or profit under the state” in the future.

In a daylong trial on Tuesday — the first impeachment trial in the state’s history — prosecutors sought to paint Ravnsborg as a distracted driver who lied to try and cover up his knowledge of striking Joe Boever on September 12, 2020. Ravnsborg called 911 after the incident that night and said he had “no idea” what smashed his front windshield, saying it could have been a deer.

A local sheriff soon arrived at the scene and neither of the two men reported seeing a human body. Ravnsborg returned the next morning with an aid and found human remains at the scene, then drove to the sheriff to report the body.

“Wherever his attention was, it was not on the road,” prosecuting attorney Mark Vargo said during the trial on Tuesday.

Prosecutors argued Tuesday that Ravnsborg would go on to tell several lies, including how often he was using his cell phone on the drive that night, how fast he was driving, where he was when he hit Boever (he initially said he was still in the driving lane but it was later determined he was in the shoulder), and whether he saw the body on the night of the incident.

“I don’t think I really need to cite chapter and verse to a bunch of people from South Dakota about integrity and honesty — and why

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