Austin Goss pleads guilty to lesser charge of Disorderly Conduct

PIERRE, S.D.(DRGNews)- A magistrate judge in Stanley County has approved a suspended imposition of sentence for a former Pierre-based political reporter charged with a Class 2 Misdemeanor after using a website to make a prank phone call appear as through it was coming from South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s personal cell phone.

26 year old Austin Goss of Fort Pierre appeared Tuesday with his attorney, Jason Glodt, to enter a plea agreement on the charge of Disorderly Conduct. Goss had originally been charged with Making Threatening, Harassing or Misleading Contacts, which is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

The January 22, 2023, call was sent to former state Republican Party Chairman Dan Lederman. Glodt and Goss both said in court that Goss’ intent was not to harm anyone and at the time, Goss thought it was a funny joke among friends.

During court, Stanley County State’s Attorney Tom Maher said he supported a lenient sentence, but also said the impact of Goss’ actions on others should also be considered. Maher said they weren’t in court because of a prank phone call. They were in court because Goss sent a communication while representing himself as someone else.

Judge Tara Adamski suspended a 30 day jail sentence providing Goss be a law abiding citizen for one year and send apology letters to both Lederman and Noem. She also ordered Goss to pay a $500 fine and $78.50 in court costs. The suspended imposition of the sentence means the charge will not be on Goss’ permanent record, as long as he successfully completes all of these requirements.

In an emailed statement after court, Glodt said, “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.” It also says Goss “has reached out directly to the Governor and the recipient of the call.”