Pierre journalist requests information on Benda's death - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Pierre journalist requests information on Benda's death

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A Pierre journalist filed a public records request with South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley, asking for reports connected to the October death of Richard Benda.

Bob Mercer, the Pierre reporter, cited Benda's status as a public official and the official investigation into his death as justification to provide the information.

Benda is allegedly connected to the misdirection of $550,000 of state public funds. It's alleged that Benda double-billed the state by more than $5,000 for double billings of airline tickets while he was a state official as well.

Jackley expressed his frustration with blogs "that speculate and provide misinformation" and state political parties that "fail to state any factual or legal basis" in press releases in his response to Mercer.

The actions of these bloggers and party leaders "do not support a public record request," Jackley said, "however, I do believe that release of reports fashioned in such a way to protect the presumption of innocence, other criminal process safeguards and individual privacy interests would assist the public."

The attorney general agreed to show the redacted documents to two media representatives if a member of Benda's immediate family gives their written permission.

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