Reporter who used Noem's number for prank call pleads guilty to lesser charge
Austin Goss used prank call website to spoof former GOP chairman in January
The man accused of using Gov. Kristi Noem’s cellphone number to prank call the former chairman of the South Dakota GOP will pay a fine and avoid jailtime.
That’s the takeaway from the plea deal entered into Tuesday afternoon by Austin Goss, the former Dakota News Now reporter let go last week after being charged with a class 1 misdemeanor stemming from the January call. Initially charged with making threatening, harassing, or misleading contacts, and displaying the telephone number of another person, the Stanley County State’s Attorney’s Office agreed to bring a lesser charge of disorderly conduct, a class 2 misdemeanor. Goss was also granted a suspended imposition of sentence, meaning the charge and conviction will be sealed.
As part of the plea arrangement and sentence, Goss will issue an apology to Dan Lederman, who was the departing chairman of the South Dakota Republican Party when he received the robocall that appeared to be coming from Noem’s personal cellphone.
Goss will pay $578 in fines and court costs.
Following Tuesday’s hearing, Goss deferred questions to his attorney, Jason Glodt, who said the call was intended to be a practical joke.
“Today Austin pleaded guilty to a class two misdemeanor stemming from a prank call that was intended as a practical joke between Mr. Goss and a friend. I believe it is unfortunate he was charged in the first place, but appreciate the willingness of the State’s Attorney to reduce the charge,” Glodt said. “The crime of disorderly conduct is on the same level as a speeding ticket.”
Goss, who’d been Dakota News Now’s primary political reporter since 2020, was terminated by the company last week after the prank call and his arrest became public. Neither Lederman nor Noem have publicly commented on the matter.
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