The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday indefinitely suspended the law license of frequent justice candidate Michelle MacDonald, affirming a referee’s finding that she violated the state’s rules of professional conduct by falsely impugning the integrity of a judge.
The high court also said MacDonald cannot petition for reinstatement for four months, calling it an appropriate penalty for repeating her misconduct by knowingly making false statements about the integrity of the same judge while still on probation in an earlier disciplinary case.
The judge was Dakota County Judge David Knutson, who presided over the 2013 child-custody trial of MacDonald’s client, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, who was herself later convicted of hiding her two daughters from their father for two years. MacDonald was suspended for 60 days in 2018 and put on probation for two years after that. In 2014, she was acquitted of a drunken driving charge but later convicted of a misdemeanor for obstruction of the legal process.
Associated Justices Paul Thissen and Margaret Chutich, who MacDonald challenged in 2020 and 2018 respectively, took no part in the disciplinary case.
MacDonald, a conservative family law specialist from West St. Paul, has run for a seat on the high court four times. She got 41% of the vote against Thissen and 44% against Chutich.
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