John Doe Update: Attorney admits leaking documents to press, report alleges Walker is a target
Post by Emily Mills on 6/4/2012 2:12pm
Updated 6:36 p.m. - Fresh accusations and revelations are coming hot and fast as the recall election against Gov. Scott Walker looms on June 5.
Monday marked the one of the last pre-trial hearing for Tim Russell, one of six people so far charged in the ongoing John Doe investigation in Milwaukee County. Russell is accused of stealing more than $20,000 from a fund established by Walker to support Operation Freedom, an event meant to raise funds for veterans and their families. It's also alleged that Russell stole from Republican candidates whom he was advising.
Defense lawyer Dennis Krueger admitted he had released documents to the press, with permission from his client, that suggested Walker had stonewalled the DA's attempts to conduct the John Doe investigation.
"If Republicans are wondering who is leaking information about crimes that Scott Walker may have committed, they need only look into their own house. That Scott Walker's longtime and closest political aide, who is charged with stealing from veterans, is the source of information undercutting Walker's self-serving claims of cooperation shows with crystal clarity just why Wisconsin must remove Scott Walker from office tomorrow," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said in response to the revelation Monday.
Judge David Hansher ultimately delayed Russell's trial, which had been schedule for June, until September 10 "because of pre-trial publicity, including Russell's photo being featured in anti-Walker ads. The prosecution did not oppose the delayed trial date."
Hansher also scheduled another hearing for July 11 concerning a motion to dismiss filed by Russell's attorney.
Meanwhile, over the weekend national reporter David Shuster of Take Action Media published a story claiming that Walker is officially now a target of the John Doe, citing unnamed government lawyers "familiar" with the probe.
In a call with media Saturday evening Shuster said that in speaking with attorneys close to the case about the lengthiness of the investigation (it has spanned over two years), it came to light that Walker's defense lawyers had been asking for a letter from the feds clearing him as a target. In response they were informed that Walker's status had recently changed to that of a target.
Shuster, who has covered numerous grand jury trials, said that there is no requirement that targets or their lawyers ever be told that they are, in fact, a target.
Former Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager was also on the call and explained that there are specific guidelines for prosecutors not to make indictments in such cases any more than two months before an election involving any of the targets, so as to avoid any perception of political bias.
She also said that it is customary for the feds to issue a public letter exonerating any subject or witness in such a case prior to an election in which they are running for office.
That Walker has not produced such a letter only backs the report that he is, in fact, a target, claimed Shuster.
Walker flatly denied this when asked by reporters at a fundraising recent event in Milwaukee, saying the report was “A hundred percent wrong. Could not be more wrong.”
Meanwhile, a 13th person was granted immunity in the investigation – Walker’s former county spokeswoman Fran McLoughlin. Recent campaign filings also show that Walker has now transferred a total of $160,000 from his campaign fund to a legal defense fund set up to help pay for legal expenses incurred from the John Doe investigation.
Emily Mills is Editor-At-Large for Dane101, as well as Editor of Our Lives Magazine. She is also a freelance writer, photographer, actor, and musician (drummer and singer in local band Little Red Wolf). Originally from several states up and down the Midwest Emily has called Madison home since 2000. Contact her at