Reporter Pleads Guilty For Prank Calling Former GOP Chair Using Kristi Noem’s Personal Cell Phone

[Screenshot/YouTube/Austin Goss]

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A South Dakota broadcast reporter pleaded guilty May 9 after being charged with prank calling a former GOP chair using Republican Gov. Kristi Noem’s personal cell phone number.

Austin Goss pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge of using a pre-recorded message through to prank call the former chairman of the South Dakota Republican Party, Dan Lederman, CBS News reported. The call, which was made Jan. 22, was manipulated so as to appear Lederman was receiving a phone call from Noem. (RELATED: South Dakota Governor Receives A Flamethrower For Christmas…From Her Staff)

Instead of the governor, Lederman answered the phone to a recording entitled “Mafia Guy Got Vaccines” in which a man demands the whereabouts of COVID-19 vaccines, accuses the listener of absconding with three boxes of Astra Zeneca, warns the unknowing recipient of the call that he is “getting so angry” before a new recording indicates “You’ve just been pranked by,” CBS News reported.

Jason Gloat, Goss’ lawyer, called the incident “a practical joke” between his client and a friend, according to the outlet.

It is believed Goss had access to Noem’s phone number in his capacity as a political reporter for Dakota News Now. After the news organization learned of the incident, however, Goss was fired. (RELATED: Prank Gone Wrong: Employee Reportedly Arrested For Calling In Bomb Threat For Co-Worker At Gas Station)

Goss was initially charged with a misdemeanor count of making threatening, harassing or misleading contacts, which would have resulted in a maximum of one year’s imprisonment and $2,000 in fines. The State attorney reduced the charge, however, to disorderly conduct. By pleading guilty, Goss received a suspended 30 day jail sentence, one year of probation and fine of $500, KELO News reported.

“The Court granted Mr. Goss a suspended imposition of sentence so there will be no conviction on his record,” Glodt said in a statement, according to CBS News. “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.”