Just days after he pled guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct following his arrest for making a prank phone call using South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem's personal cell phone number, fired Dakota News Now reporter Austin Goss has written an open letter to the people of South Dakota.

In the letter, published on the South Dakota Standard website, Goss reflects back on his nearly three years as the Capitol Bureau Reporter for Dakota News Now and KOTA-TV in Rapid City:

'South Dakota is my home. My wife and I have created a life for ourselves here. We bought our first house together here, had our first child, and are expecting our second in a few months. I am active in the Pierre area community, especially at our church, St John’s Catholic Church, and serve on the Fort Pierre Fire Department.

My family and I chose South Dakota because of its people, values, and culture. And I chose the job I did because I believe the stories of all three should be told. Over the last three years, I’ve had the privilege of telling many of those stories.'

MORE: Former Dakota News Now Reporter Pleads Guilty in Noem Phone Spoof

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On January 22, Goss made a call to Dan Lederman, the former chairman of the South Dakota Republican Party, using the website PrankDial to make it appear it was coming from Governor Noem's cell phone.

Earlier this month, Goss was arrested and charged with making threatening, harassing, or misleading telephone calls, a Class 1 misdemeanor that carried a potential one-year jail sentence and/or a $2,000 fine.

He was fired from his job shortly after his arrest.

Tuesday (May 9), Goss entered his plea to a charge of disorderly conduct, which is a Class 2 misdemeanor. As part of the plea deal, he will pay a $578 fine and have 30 days of jail time suspended.

In his open letter, Goss addresses the January phone call:

'As most of you reading this know, several months ago I placed a pre-recorded, satirical prank phone call to Dan Lederman, a person I considered a friend, via a website called PrankDial.com and put Gov. Kristi Noem’s phone number as the sender. Knowing Dan also had her phone number, I thought the result would be nothing more than a funny joke that the two of us could laugh at.

Of course, this is not a call I’d ever make again — to Dan or anyone else. Many have asked, “What was he thinking?” The answer is simple, very little.'

Goss says he takes full responsibility for the call and for the personal and professional fallout that came with it:

'...I know this mistake has compromised some people’s trust in me. I will work hard to regain it...

...I hope that this brief lapse in judgment will not speak more loudly than the volume of good journalism I have had the privilege of providing this state over the years.'

Governor Noem has yet to comment on the incident.


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