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Proposed Ravnsborg impeachment trial rules released


The state Senate has released draft rules for an upcoming impeachment trial.

Senators will vote on the draft rules Tuesday.

House lawmakers narrowly approved two articles of impeachment against Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg earlier this month — one for crimes that led to the death of a pedestrian, and the other for malfeasance in office.

Ravnsborg was driving alone when he struck and killed Joe Boever in September 2020.

The Senate is responsible for an impeachment trial to determine whether Ravnsborg should get removed from office. The trial will take place on June 21 and 22.

Proposed rules give prosecutors and Ravnsborg's attorney six hours apiece to make opening remarks and present witness testimony, exhibits and cross examinations.

If Ravnsborg testifies, he’s not subject to the time limits.

The trial will take place in front of the full Senate.

Republican state Sen. David Wheeler led efforts to craft Senate impeachment trial rules.

He says the rules are meant to guide attorneys presenting their case before senators.

“Assuming that all the evidence that we have is online now, there’s no reason senators can’t be reviewing that already,” Wheeler says. “Making themselves familiar with the evidence and then ready to receive arguments from the parties whether that constitutes impeachable offenses.”

Wheeler says the trial is modeled after impeachment trials held in Arizona and Illinois as well as laws in North Dakota.

If senators remove Ravnsborg from office, they’ll then consider whether to also disqualify him from holding future office.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.
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