KDLT Home KDLT on Facebook KDLT on Twitter Get the KDLT iPhone App Get the KDLT Android App

Closing Arguments Of Robocall Trial



Bookmark and Share

After three days of testimony, the trial against a South Dakota man accused of making illegal robocalls has come to a conclusion.

 

“We the jury, find the defendant, guilty.”

 

Four times over, the jury found Daniel Willard guilty of failing to provide a disclaimer stating who paid for a pair of robocalls, made within 60 days of the 2012 election. And for each offense, Willard must pay $250.

 

“I imagine the case may come down to three words: clearly and forthrightly,” said Assistant Attorney General Brent Kempema.

 

The end of the robocalls claimed they were paid for and authorized by Veterans Against Unethical Politicians, a group that does not exist and was not registered with the Secretary of State's office.

 

"The Secretary of State doesn't have the authority to go and tell them they have to file. My job is to accept what is filed with my office. If someone does something we question, we then go to the attorney general’s office," said Secretary of State Jason Gant.

 

That and complaints by local lawmakers got the investigation rolling.

 

Willard help set up the robocalls that attacked State Senator Russell Olson and others for not supporting veterans.

 

However, Willard was the only person charged with violating election laws. But, certain testimony pointed to U.S. Senate Candidate Stace Nelson as an accomplice in the scheme.

 

“Didn't you hear plenty of testimony? I know you did. About Stace Nelson? Why haven't you heard from him?” asked Willard’s attorney, R Shawn Tornow.  

 

The actual crimes are only misdemeanors.  But, Willard's attorney felt the charges against his client were a part of what he called a "political witch hunt."

 

"Russ Olson was upset, other leadership were upset, including the governor, and that's why the Attorney General put his DCI director on the case,” said Tornow.

 

The prosecution disagreed, saying they just followed the clues to Daniel Willard.

 

“Some guys got together and decided to make some attack ads, some attack robocalls. And after making up these robocalls they want to put something at the end of it. So, that is what they come up with to skirt the law,” said Kempema.

 

One piece of evidence that sealed Willard's fate, he used his credit card to purchase a TracPhone and that's how investigators traced the calls to him.

 

Willard's fines are small. But, one person who tried to go around election laws will face some punishment.

 

The reason this trial was held at the Lake County Courthouse was because that’s where State Senator Russell Olson received one of the phone calls that attacked him.

< Prev Story Back To Top Next Story >
     

Snow Plows Tackle Drifts In Sioux Falls  story with video

Two days after Sioux Falls was hit with between two to four inches of snow, ...

Monument To Honor Firefighters In Sioux Falls  story with video

They're larger than life heroes in their communites. And every ...

2nd Gold Coin Given By Anonymous Donor

An anonymous donor continues to make generous gifts to Sioux Falls citizens ...

Barn Fire Kills 7,500 Turkeys Near Worthington  Dec. 17

Sturgis Officials Planning For 2015 Rally Traffic  Dec. 17

Magistrate Judge Named To Seventh Judicial Circuit  Dec. 17

Daugaard To Push For More Drug Courts In Session  Dec. 17

SD Ranks Seventh Among States For Volunteering  Dec. 17

Police: Spencer Woman Found Dead In Apartment  Dec. 17

Update: Missing Man Found Deceased  Dec. 17

The Daily Scoop: 12-17-14  story with video  Dec. 17

SF Building Damaged After Overnight Fire   Dec. 17

Most Popular Google Searches Of 2014  story with video  Dec. 17

The Search For A Superintendent Continues  Dec. 16

Prosecutor: "I Was Surprised By The Verdict"  story with video  Dec. 16

Ice, Snow Leaves Hundreds In The Dark  story with video  Dec. 16

Improvements Coming To South Dakota Rail   story with video  Dec. 16

Pierre Teenager To Serve 10 Years In Prison  Dec. 16

$56 Million Investment In SD Rail Projects  Dec. 16

Downtown SF Vehicles Asked To Be Moved  Dec. 16

KDLT News Archive
     

Prosecutor: "I Was Surprised By The Verdict"  story with video

The Pierre teenager convicted of fatally shooting one of ...

Pierre Teenager To Serve 10 Years In Prison

A judge has sentenced a Pierre teenager to 25 ...

Update: Missing Man Found Deceased

A man reported missing in Charles Mix County was found deceased ...

Sioux Falls Casino Robbed At Gunpoint  Dec. 16

SF Building Damaged After Overnight Fire   Dec. 17

Former USD Basketball Coach Dies   Dec. 16

Police: Spencer Woman Found Dead In Apartment  Dec. 17

$56 Million Investment In SD Rail Projects  Dec. 16

KDLT News Archive
     

3 Jacks make AP All-American team

NEW YORK — South Dakota State University running back Zach Zenner earned ...

Another All-American honor for USF's St. Pierre

SIOUX FALLS -- Solomon St. Pierre of the #16 University ...

Mustangs snap Madison's win streak  story with video

Jaden Sonnenberg's 3-point shooting helped the Tr-Valley ...

Cougars win behind Mack Johnson's 30  story with video  Dec. 16

Skyforce huge 4th rallies them past Mad Ants  story with video  Dec. 16

Geu, Warriors beat Roosevelt 54-39  story with video  Dec. 16

Johnson like chemistry on his Cougars team  story with video  Dec. 16

Hammon is ESPN's Woman of the Year  story with video  Dec. 16

KDLT Sports Stories
     
Back To Top