Jason Ravnsborg, the pro-Trump Republican attorney general of South Dakota, will take a plea deal in his criminal case stemming from a crash last year in which he killed a man walking along a rural highway.
"Beadle County State's Attorney Michael Moore, who is one of two prosecutors on the case, told The Associated Press that 'there won't be a trial and there will be a plea entered,' but he declined to discuss further details of the arrangement," the AP reported Wednesday, a day before the trial was set to begin.
Ravnsborg faced three misdemeanor charges that each carry sentences of up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.
Investigators have said Ravnsborg — who later claimed he thought he'd hit a deer — was distracted when he veered onto the shoulder on Sept. 12 and killed 55-year-old Joseph Boever.
Ravnsborg unlocked his phone minutes before the crash and clicked on a right-wing website's headline about an exposé into the "secret world of Joe Biden and his family's relationship to China and the sinister business deals that enriched them at America's expense," according to Vanity Fair's Tom Kludt.
Kludt's in-depth story, published hours before news broke of Ravnsborg's plea deal, notes that the case "has consumed South Dakota's political class" and "caused a rift between two Donald Trump allies."
"Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican star and potential 2024 contender, urged Ravnsborg, a self-described 'pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-business' conservative, to resign," according to the report. "And yet Ravnsborg continues exerting his power in deep red South Dakota and beyond, from joining a 17-state legal effort in December to overturn Trump's 2020 defeat to teaming up last month with Republican attorneys general hoping to declare a New York state concealed carry gun law unconstitutional."
According to the AP, South Dakota Republican lawmakers considered impeaching Ravnsborg — "but momentum quickly died out."
"Ravnsborg's attorneys filed a motion last month alleging that a pattern of alcoholism and prescription drug abuse by Boever led at least one family member, a cousin, to believe that a depressed Boever killed himself by jumping in front of Ravnsborg's car," the AP reports.
Boever's widow reportedly plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Ravnsborg, who has not said whether he will seek re-election in 2022.