Thanks to geg6 for the guest post. I wanted to write about a couple of local stories, one from NY and one from SD.
If you’ve seen “Pretend It’s a City”, Martin Scorsese’s interviews with Fran Lebowitz, you might remember that Fran said that she’s decided that any accusations about sexual assault or harrassment made by a woman should be considered true until proven false, just to make up for the thousands of years where the opposite was assumed. (That’s a bad paraphrase but I couldn’t find a clip.)
Anyway, with that in mind, here are the details of an accusation against Andrew Cuomo, by former aide Lindsey Boylan, in her own words. She first made the accusations around Christmas last year. Do I believe them? Yes, even without resorting to the Lebowitz doctrine.
I haven’t written much about Jason Ravnsborg, the Republican Attorney General of South Dakota (for now). Ravnsborg was driving home to Pierre from a political event in Redfield, when he struck and killed a pedestrian just outside Highmore. Ravnsborg says he believed he had struck a deer. The sheriff of Hyde County, SD (where Highmore is located) responded to the incident and gave Ravnsborg a vehicle to drive home. The next day, Ravnsborg and an aide discovered the body of Joseph Boever, in the ditch.
Ravnsborg’s story never made sense — hitting a deer and hitting a human will cause two different kinds of damage, and I think most of us would spend more than a couple of seconds looking for what we had hit, if we were in the same position. Because of his position, investigators from North Dakota and prosecutors from other counties investigated. Last week, prosecutors charged Ravnsborg with three distracted driving misdemeanors. Under South Dakota law, he could not be charged with vehicular homicide because that charge requires evidence of intoxication. It doesn’t sound like he was drinking (witnesses at the dinner testified to that effect).
Yesterday, his interviews with the North Dakota investigators came out, and all I can say is that it sure sounds like he should have known he hit a person, not an animal. First, he was outside his lane, in the shoulder, when he hit Boever. Boever’s glasses, broken in half, were found in Ravnsborg’s vehicle. As one of the investigators pointed out, Ravnsborg should have seen the glasses when he reached over to open his glove box to retrieve his insurance. Boever was carrying a flashlight which ended up on the ground, still shining. Ravnsborg denies seeing it. Though he initially denied it, when faced with evidence, Ravnsborg basically admitted that he was on his smartphone checking email when he hit Boever.
The really jaw-dropping part of this whole story is that Ravnsborg apparently thinks he can stay on as AG. Governor Kristi Noem has taken a brief respite from appearing on Fox News and bowing down before Trump to call for Ravnsborg’s resignation. Impeachment articles have been introduced in the legislature, and Republicans and Democrats support them. Since I’m hearing that Ravnsborg is pretty incompetent, it may well be that he’s holding onto his job for a little while just to keep getting a paycheck. What will happen to the Hyde County Sheriff, who’s looking more and more like a co-conspirator, remains to be seen.