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Jason Ravnsborg. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg on Thursday was charged with three misdemeanors for hitting and killing a 55-year-old man with his car last year, AP reports.

Why it matters: Ravnsborg, who has a history of speeding and traffic violations, was able to avoid more serious felony charges and instead faces charges for careless driving, driving out of his lane and operating a motor vehicle while on his phone.

  • Ravnsborg could face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine on each charge, according to AP.

Details: Hyde County Deputy State’s Attorney Emily Sovell said the evidence could not support charges of vehicular homicide or manslaughter. For there to be a manslaughter charge, the state needed to demonstrate how Ravnsborg dismissed substantial risk.

Context: Ravnsborg was driving home alone from a dinner event in September when he became distracted, driving off the highway and striking Joseph Boever, according to investigators.

  • On Thursday, investigators added that they did not find any evidence that suggested Ravnsborg was driving under the influence.
  • Ravnsborg initially told law enforcement that he thought he hit a deer and did not notice until the next day that he had hit a man.

What he's saying: "I appreciate, more than ever, that the presumption of innocence placed within our legal system continues to work," Ravnsborg said in a statement.

  • He added that he could not imagine the "pain and loss" that the victim's family were going through.

The other side: Boever's family said they were disappointed to find out that the attorney general was only facing misdemeanor charges.

  • "I am disappointed but I’m not surprised," Boever’s cousin Nick Nemec told The Daily Beast. "I knew this was going to happen because I have researched state law."

What to watch: Boever’s widow, Jenny Boever, plans to file a civil lawsuit against Ravnsborg, The Daily Beast reports.

Go deeper

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.

3 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Children "very likely" to get COVID vaccine at start of 2022

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Children under age 12 will "very likely" be able to get vaccinated for coronavirus at the "earliest the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Children generally aren't at risk of serious coronavirus infections, but vaccinating them will be key to protecting the adults around them and, eventually, reaching herd immunity, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.