State legislators reflect on Ravnsborg impeachment trial
Following the trial legislators were back at the capital on Wednesday, finishing up an exhausting process.
PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota’s highest ranking law enforcement official has been voted out of office, bringing to a close over a year’s worth of legal and political turmoil.
“I mean, the bad news is I had to write the rules for an impeachment. The good news is we never needed them before,” said State Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, the President Pro Tempore of the South Dakota Senate.
Now, after all that time, legislators find themselves relieved it’s all over.
Following the trial, legislators were back at the capital on Wednesday, finishing up an exhausting process.
“I mean everybody had a heightened sense of responsibility, and we’re probably all happy to go home and hug our spouses,” Schoenbeck said.
As for the trial, the defense for Ravnsborg states that to begin with the charges weren’t impeachable.
However, legislators say that Pennington County State’s Attorney Mark Vargo presented a strong case in questioning investigators.
“When you piece together misleading the law enforcement several times right away, it just leads up to to the standard that I think was met,” said State Sen. Casey Crabtree, the Majority Whip for the SD Senate.
Those that voted against impeachment say that the issue doesn’t just stop with the evidence in the case or testimonies.
They say it extends to how the constitution specifically refers to what is impeachable, including evil or corrupt manner.
“I don’t think the man was evil,” said State. Sen. Timothy R. Johns. “I don’t think, I wasn’t satisfied from the evidence and all the arguments that the state made [and] that the prosecutors made.”
As for the rebuttal, it also left legislators puzzled as to Ravnsborg’s attorney’s case.
The defense called no witnesses and legislators say they did little to disqualify investigators’ testimonies.
“Every senator in the room was looking for some defense, but we didn’t get it,” said State Sen. David Johnson.
Governor Noem is now tasked with selecting a new Attorney General.