Michael Volpe

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As I previously wrote, at the time, Rucki not only hired Tannick but also maintained his longstanding attorney, Lisa Elliott, all while claiming in court he was on public assistance when arguing for child support.”

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The blogger in the Rucki case previously accused of jury tampering is now being accused of witness tampering in a new appeal.

Dede Evavold filed a new appeal in which, among other legal issues, she argued that Michael Brodkorb engaged in a campaign to intimidate her.

Evavold was convicted for her role in hiding Samantha and Gianna Rucki, along with their mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and Doug and Gina Dahlen.

The two Rucki girls ran away from home on April 19, 2013 and were found in November 2015.

The complaint stems from two incidents.

In one incident, Brodkorb called Evavold in September 2015 and surreptitiously recorded the conversation which he then shared with David Rucki who sent it to the Lakeville Police Department.

On 062216 at 1430 hours I received an email from David Rucki containing an audio recording. I spoke with David on the phone and he explained to me that the recording was a conversation that Michael Brodkorb recorded between himself (Brodkorb) and Dede Evavold,” the police report from the Lakeville Police Department stated.

Brodkorb was working at a blog hosted by the Minneapolis Star Tribune at the time. Emails to Suki Dardarian and Terry Sauer, two editors at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, were both left unreturned.

Brodkorb called any allegations of witness tampering false: “all bogus. Their accusations are as credible as your reporting.”

Brodkorb, after the article was published, had previously challenged the accuracy of a report that he approached at least one juror while Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s trial was ongoing.

Also, a police report of Michael Brodkorb’s work product ending up not only in David Rucki’s possession but in the possession of the Lakeville Police Department.

The trial judge must be aggressively involved in media management to ensure the constitutionally protected rights of the defendant to a fair trial and the societal rights to justice in a properly conducted trial.” Evavold said in her appeal of the incident.

Curiously, though Brodkorb surreptitiously recorded this conversation in 2015, he waited until June 2016 to publish the article when he was no longer working for the Star Tribune.

Brodkorb did not say why he waited so long to publish the article. In the other incident, David Rucki, using the attorney Marshall Tannick, sent out a threatening letter to Evavold, demanding that she remove her blog, Red Herring Alert.

The letter was dated June 2, 2016, and on June 14, 2016, Brodkorb published another article entitled Facing potential civil litigation in Rucki case, owner deletes blog.

That article was about Leah Dannewitz, another family court victim and blogger, who also received the same threatening letter from David Rucki’s attorney.

Tannick did not respond to an email to explain the timing.

Evavold, in her appeal, argued this was a form of witness intimidation: “Appellant (Evavold) had a reasonable suspicion the unsubstantiated claims in the letter were meant to intimidate the Appellant into deleting the blog,” Evavold said in the appeal, “Former Star Tribune reporter Michael Brodkorb wrote an article, Facing potential civil litigation in Rucki case, owner deletes blog, within days of receiving a letter from David Rucki’s attorney.”

Evavold was not only facing her own trial at the time of this letter but was scheduled to testify at Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s trial and argued that the letters and coordinated article were designed to threaten her.

As I previously wrote, at the time, Rucki not only hired Tannick but also maintained his longstanding attorney, Lisa Elliott, all while claiming in court he was on public assistance when arguing for child support.

The Father receives child support services from Dakota County for the joint children pursuant to the Title IV D of the Social Security Act,” said Judge Maria Pastoor in 2016, using this assistance as justification for ordering Sandra Grazzini-Rucki to pay $975 per month in child support in 2016.

This was not the only example of witness tampering in Evavold’s appeal.

Evavold noted that Samantha Rucki had also been tampered with; in a police report approximately a month before her mother’s trial, Samantha Rucki said her father was pressuring her to recant previous allegations of abuse.

“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 Rucki stated to Lakeville Police Department Detective, Kelli Coughlin, in a police interview after Coughlin asked her if she was at the interview of free will.

Messages left with the Lakeville Police Department and the Dakota County Prosecutor’s office, which prosecuted the case, were left unreturned.

Both Evavold and Grazzini-Rucki presented an affirmative defense, arguing that David Rucki was a violent man, but the trial judge, Karen Asphaug, refused to allow nearly all evidence of abuse including police reports, Child Protective Services reports, and letters.

“The prosecution was well aware of allegations of abuse and willfully ignored it as if it didn’t exist,” Evavold stated in her appeal.

David Rucki has convictions stemming from a bar fight, road rage incident, numerous incidents of stalking and numerous violations of orders for protection, 

Child Protection reports, including one made by Nico Rucki in which he claimed his father held a gun to his head.

David Rucki even threatened Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s divorce attorney, Michelle MacDonald, and a process server in another room in the same courthouse while the trial was ongoing.

None of that evidence was allowed into either trial.

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