A former South Dakota ABC affiliate KOTA and Dakota News Now reporter has pleaded guilty to making a prank call using South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s personal cellphone number.
The disgraced reporter, Austin Goss, made the call to the former chairman of the South Dakota Republican Party, Dan Lederman, in January after the Jan 6th panel “inadvertently” leaked out the social security numbers of almost 2,000 Republican officials and their family members.
Goss was fired after being charged with “making threats, harassing, or misleading contacts.”
The reporter had used the website PrankDial.com to send a prerecorded message that appeared to come from Noem’s personal number. During the call, a mafia member is heard accusing the listener of stealing boxes of AstraZeneca vaccines.
“You telling me, you didn’t tell Vito, that you were going to try to move the three boxes of that AstraZeneca outside this family?” the prank call asked.
Lederman said that Goss would frequently send him “snide or rude remarks” in text messages as well.
Goss’ lawyer claimed it was a “practical joke” between friends.
Goss was facing a maximum of one year in prison and a $2,000 fine, but his lawyer said in a statement, obtained by the Associated Press, that his plea deal “suspended imposition of sentence so there will be no conviction on his record.”
At the time that her number was leaked, Noem issued a statement saying that her phone had been “hacked.”
“Callous mishandling of personal information has real world consequences,” Governor Noem said. “If you get such a phone call from my number, know that I had no involvement.”