Reporter pleads guilty to prank using Noem’s cell number

May 10, 2023

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A broadcast reporter pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge filed after he made a prank phone call using South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s personal cell phone number.

Reporter Austin Goss pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor that stemmed from a pre-recorded prank call he made Jan. 22 to Dan Lederman, the former chairman of the South Dakota Republican Party. The call, which came from a website called PrankDial, made it appear it was coming from Noem’s cell phone.

Goss was fired from his job as the Capitol bureau reporter for Dakota News Now after the news organization learned of the matter. He initially was charged with a misdemeanor count of making threatening, harassing or misleading contacts, which carried a maximum penalty of one year’s imprisonment and $2,000 in fines.

Goss’ lawyer, Jason Glodt, called the call a “practical joke” between Goss and a friend.

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

Reached by phone, Goss declined to give a comment about the call or his plea.

A spokesperson for Noem said the governor wouldn’t have a comment about the matter.