Noem pressures House to release AG fatal crash investigation

·2 min read
FILE - South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, joined by a bipartisan group of state attorneys general, speaks to reporters in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Sept. 9, 2019. On Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem pressured House lawmakers weighing impeachment charges against Ravnsborg to release investigative files on his 2020 fatal car crash. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Monday pressured House lawmakers weighing impeachment charges against the state attorney general to release investigative files on his 2020 fatal car crash.

The Republican governor last year delivered the crash investigation to House Speaker Spencer Gosch. But while the Republican lawmaker had pledged a transparent process as a House investigative committee sifts through the file, little of its information has been released publicly.

“I have seen the entire investigative file, and the public deserves to see it so that they can learn the truth of what happened," Noem said in a statement, adding that the House lawmakers “have the responsibility to see this process through in a timely manner.”

Noem has stayed closely involved in the episode ever since Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg struck and killed a man walking on a rural stretch of highway in September of 2020. She has called for her fellow Republican's dismissal, but he has refused to step down.

Ravnsborg, who was elected to his first term in 2018, pleaded no contest in August to a pair of misdemeanors in the crash that killed Joseph Boever. The attorney general first reported the crash as a collision with an animal. He has insisted that he did not realize he had killed a man until he returned to the scene the next day and discovered Boever’s body.

However, criminal investigators told the House impeachment investigation last week that they didn't believe Ravnsborg's account of what happened.

The committee held two days of public meetings last week after reviewing the crash investigation.

Gosch said the committee was still trying to work through redacting certain parts of the files that the committee has claimed are not relevant to their work of evaluating impeachment charges.

He added that the committee would likely meet next week, but it was not clear whether lawmakers would hold a public session or meet behind closed doors.

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