MacDonald & Grazzini-Rucki at 2014 joint campaign appearance | Vimeo via Star Tribune
by Steve Timmer
Sep 20, 2016, 1:30 PM

It’ll probably be moot, anyway

Update 9/25: (If you haven’t read the original story, you might want to scroll down and do that first, before reading this update.)

There was a hearing on Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s petition last Thursday. Her attorney Michelle MacDonald explained to the court that her client was indisposed and could not be there, having been hauled off in chains (well, okay, handcuffs, but they had a short chain linking them) the day before at her sentencing on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights.

In spite of the fact that Ms. MacDonald put on no case (in her defense, she couldn’t, since she had no complaining witness), the Court did not issue a dismissal from the bench and left the temporary restraining order in place, pending a decision on the merits.

Which is odd, since there are no merits to even consider.

Laughably really, Grazzini-Rucki avers in her petition that she is afraid of Michael Brodkorb. One of the things the Court could have determined in a hearing is whether she had objective grounds for that belief, or whether it was just part of Sandra’s histrionics skill set. Irrespective of that, she doesn’t have to be afraid of him now.

The real goal of the petition was to keep Michael Brodkorb from reporting on the Grazzini-Rucki case and its associated characters. That is potentially helpful to Michele MacDonald, who is, of course, making another run for the Supreme Court.

When MacDonald ran two years ago, the Grazzini-Rucki case was going to be a career maker for her, she thought. Now, she’d be happy if it just wasn’t a career killer; it should be. [end of the update]

— o O o —

As many of you know, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki filed a petition last week for a harassment restraining order against Michael Brodkorb for the sin of being a journalist. She filed it in Washington County, where neither party apparently lives, moves, or has his or her being. But that is hardly the only odd thing about the petition.

City Pages wrote a good story about the petition and its background. Because a temporary restraining order is issued on a petitioner’s allegations only, one was, and there will be a hearing on Thursday, September 22nd to see if a permanent restraining order will be issued.

Grazzini-Rucki was convicted, as most of you also know, of six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights (the father, David Rucki’s, after a bitter divorce) for hiding their daughters on a horse farm — and never even visiting them once — for over two years.

That’s the story that Michael Brodkorb reported; I will say without reservation that his Strib and blog stories, held up for law enforcement and the public to see, are the reason the girls were found. The case was really broken after an interview, one of several Michael conducted with a confidant and rump legal adviser of Grazzini-Rucki, Dale Nathan, where Nathan admitted he had information and correspondence about the whereabouts of the two girls.

The day the story was published, law enforcement executed a search warrant on Dale Nathan; the case was made, and accessories have been charged, too.

So there is no doubt that Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is annoyed with Michael Brodkorb.

But not coincidentally — and delicious to me, frankly — is the fact that Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s sentencing on the conviction on six felony counts is TOMORROW, September 21st.

I don’t know, but I suspect she is going to get more than a hundred dollar fine. In fact, unless somebody does some really, really fast talking, I doubt that Grazzini-Rucki will be free to attend a hearing on a restraining order.

But let us assume for a moment that she remains free to feel the sunshine on her face in Stillwater on Thursday; there is one item in her petition that I’d like to discuss. (You can read about more of SGR’s specious allegations in the City Pages article, if you like.)

Grazzini-Rucki avers that in his reporting Michael compared her to the man who kidnapped, abused, and killed Jacob Wetterling. He did no such thing.

What he did do, though, is compare and contrast the public reaction of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki to the disappearance of two of her children to that of Patty Wetterling on the disappearance of Jacob.

We all know how the Wetterlings reacted, both in the early days and over the years.

Grazzini-Rucki, on the other hand, made no public appeal for the return of the girls, did not cooperate with the court or law enforcement to find the girls while maintaining that she did not know where they were — patently false — and she appeared with her lawyer Michelle MacDonald on cable television several times to complain about the family court system in Minnesota. She even did campaign appearances with MacDonald when the latter ran for a seat on the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The family court judge observed in his findings after the custody trial (the girls had already been missing for several months at that point) that he suspected that Grazzini-Rucki knew where the girls were.

Because Michael and I have both had an interest in this case, we’ve talked about it many times. He mentioned early on that Grazzini-Rucki’s reaction to her missing children was strange, cold, and inexplicable. And he did compare it to Patty Wetterling’s. He thought it was probative.

I agreed with him then, and he was proven absolutely right.

Update: Michelle MacDonald has entered an appearance on behalf of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and will represent her at the hearing on Thursday. If there is one, of course.

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