Minnesota Attorney General’s office adds to confusion in Rucki case

Did members of Dakota County's Probation Department manually change terms of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s probation to a more restrictive than allowed for her crime?

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It's punishment, but is it justice?
It's punishment, but is it justice?

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2017 — A letter from the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office to CDN has left more questions than answers in the Grazzini-Rucki divorce case.

“You wrote an article that appeared in Communities Digital news (CDN) on March 2, 2017, titled ‘5th Amendment Violations, Witness Tampering, Alleged in Rucki case,’” a letter written by Minnesota Attorney General staffer Laura Flanders stated. “In the article, you discuss your emails to the Dakota County Attorney’s Office, the judges in the cases, and the Lakeville Police Department, which investigated the case, requesting explanations for their actions, and which have not been answered.”

“This office has no authority in the Grazzini-Rucki case,” the letter continued, “The Minnesota legislature delegated the authority to prosecute criminal matters to the county attorney, who was elected by the voters of that county.”

But, according to the Minnesota Attorney General’s website, the office does sometimes get involved in criminal matters:


“The Office provides legal representation to over 100 state agencies, boards, and commissions and represents the State of Minnesota in state and federal court and administrative hearings.  In some cases, the Office provides legal assistance to rural county prosecutors in major felonies and criminal appeals.”

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is currently appealing her conviction.

Samantha and her sister Gianna ran away from home on April 19, 2013 after they were forced to live with their father, David Rucki, despite repeated allegations he abused the family. (Lakeville, Minnesota is where the Ruckis reside.)

David Rucki has a long and violent criminal past checkered with incidents that include a bar fighta road rage incidentincidents of stalking, and even an incident in which he was alleged to have threatened to hire the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang to rough up his ex-wife.

During the Rucki divorce proceedings, their children testified to David Rucki’s abuse, wrote letters about his abuse, and even made audio recordings detailing his abuse. But all their pleas were ignored and he was given sole custody.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, however, was convicted of parental deprivation for her role in hiding her daughters. They were hidden, and stayed willingly from April 2013-November 2015, at a ranch for abused children run by Doug and Gina Dahlen.

The Dahlens have pled guilty in an associated case for their role in hiding Samantha and Gianni, while another defendant, Dede Evavold, was found guilty as well. Inexplicably, Judge Karen Asphaug presided over all four cases.

A message left with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office concerning the current legal situation was left unreturned. An email to Laura Flanders was also left unreturned and an email left with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office was also left unreturned. The current Minnesota Attorney General is Democrat Lori Swanson, and she has held that position since 2007.

CDN’s March 2nd article on this case alleged that David Rucki pressured his daughter, Samantha Rucki, to recant her previous allegations that he physical abused her, her four siblings, and her mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.

In an interview with Lakeville Police Detective Kelli Coughlin, conducted approximately a month before her mother’s trial, Samantha Rucki stated 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.”

Curiously, Detective Coughlin disregarded the allegation, saying in response: “Well I just want to make sure you are not here against your will.” Even more curious, the Dakota County Prosecutor’s Office added two charges to Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s criminal complaint shortly after this interview was conducted.

In another allegation, Gina Dahlen, another defendant in the case, was force to testify at Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s trial even though she was still a defendant in her own trial. She was not granted full immunity but, rather, “use immunity,” which promises not to use evidence gathered from the testimony against the defendant.

But Dahlen — like Sandra Grazzini-Rucki — had two extra charges added to her criminal complaint shortly after her testimony.

Flanders’ letter stated that the Lakeville Police Department and the Dakota County Prosecutor’s Office are the proper place to go for answers for the alleged witness tampering even though the chain of events suggests both are involved in a racketeering conspiracy to hide David Rucki’s crimes while also hiding evidence which would exonerate Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.

A follow up email to the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office asked which agency was responsible for investigating corruption by public officials in Minnesota, but that email was also left unreturned.

The Lakeville Police Department has directed all inquiries to the Dakota County Prosecutor’s Office. Emails to James Backstrom, the prosecutor, and Monica Jensen, their public affairs officer, were left unreturned.

There was one other allegation made, namely that members of the Dakota County Probation Department manually changed the terms of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s probation to a level far more restrictive than is allowed for her crime.

Flanders directed inquires related to this matter to Brian Kopperud, Director of Dakota County Correction, but an email to Kopperud was also left unreturned.

This series of articles has additionally alleged that the judge in Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s criminal case — Judge Karen Asphaug — and the judge in his divorce — Judge David Knutson — previously fixed David Rucki’s criminal cases. Calls to their chambers for explanation of their actions in these cases have also been left unreturned.

At Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s trial, Asphaug disallowed David Rucki’s criminal history to be entered into evidence. She also disallowed any mention of the restraining orders that four different people successfully took out against him, and limited the number of questions Samantha Rucki could be asked in this trial.

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