Pierre, SD (KELO AM) - The Hughes County circuit court has ruled the files surrounding the death of former State Economic Development Director Richard Benda will remain sealed. Benda, who has been linked to the EB-5 scandal and was being investigated for a series of money transfers, killed himself with a shotgun while hunting near Lake Andes in October 2013.
Journalist Bob Mercer had sued the state to open the records regarding Benda’s death, saying the public interest in the case warrants more transparency. Mercer works out of Pierre and his work appears in several South Dakota daily newspapers. He was representing himself in the lawsuit to prove a point about the open records, despite having no prior legal experience.