Thursday, July 19, 2012

Who's Walker's "Best" Boy And Other Walkergate Wonderings

Three quick things that are going on or have gone on regarding the ongoing saga of Walkergate (OK, two short and one longer thing):

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Yesterday, I noted that Darlene Wink's sentencing hearing was adjourned for four months in order to guarantee her continued cooperation against Tim Russell and a mystery case in Waukesha. I speculated that it might have something to do with Walker's campaign.

Since then, Marie Rohde, writing for WisPolitics.com, reported that Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel wasn't going to prosecute the suspect because he couldn't "demonstrate that he knew what he was doing was wrong." Schimel described it as a "side issue" not involving campaigning from work. What he didn't say is whether it had something to do with illegally coordination between Walker's campaign and Walker's county executive office.

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On Thursday morning, Kelly Rindfleisch will be back in court regarding her defense's Kastiger Motion (that's the fancy legal term for Universal Immunity, the kind that spans all time and cases, apparently) and motions to suppress evidence. Landgraf has already loaded up with a lot more evidence - which should be a lot of fun to go through - and some have speculated that they will be piling up the charges, even tripling the current four to make it twelve felony charges, against her. I'm sure that they have more than enough evidence to do so.

It's good to see that the DA's office is tired of all the crap that has been dished their way and are willing to up the ante to put more pressure on these politi-thugs.

I expect that Rindfleisch's frivolous motions will go as far as Tim Russell's did.

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And speaking of Russell, he is probably going to be the most interesting part of this phase of Walkergate.

As I'm sure the gentle reader is fully aware, Russell has been going through attorneys at an alarming rate. It is problem with retaining legal representation which is bringing him back to court on Friday, so that he can inform the court, or more likely the court will inform him, whether he will continue with Attorney Fond du Lac County prosecutor Dennis Krueger.

I would not be surprised if he walked into court on Friday with a new attorney in tow.

And if the gentle reader is up for a little conspiratorial speculation, we could even lay bets on who the new attorney might be.

A friend and faithful reader of Cog Dis alerted me to this story pointing out that the infamous Eric McLeod, formerly of Michael Best & Friedrich, has struck out on his own:
The attorney who provided free legal representation to state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman as the justice faced allegations of ethics violations and who has been in the center of GOP redistricting efforts has left the Michael Best & Friedrich law firm.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week reported that Eric McLeod, a former partner for the Milwaukee-based firm, has started his own law practice.

Michael Best managing partner David Krutz didn’t return a phone message asking if McLeod’s departure was related to his no-fee representation of Gableman. A message to McLeod’s Maple Bluff home was not immediately returned.

McLeod represented Gableman for two years after the newly elected justice was accused of judicial ethics code violations for a 2008 campaign ad against incumbent Louis Butler, whom Gableman defeated for a seat on the high court.

McLeod reportedly provided about $100,000 worth of free legal representation for Gableman, which critics said created a conflict of interest because the Supreme Court often presides over cases argued by Michael Best & Friedrich.
Besides the issue of Gableman's peppercorn, McLeod was also deeply entrenched in the gerrymandering, including having all the Republicans in the state sign off on a secrecy pact. In fact, McLeod's shenanigans in filing one frivolous appeal after another regarding the gerrymandering bought him a personal sanction by the court, not to mention one for his former law firm.

However, as I always tell you to remember, with all things Walker-related, there's more. There's always more.

Last night, when researching for the Wink article, I was reviewing the criminal charges which were filed against her. At the bottom of page 14, I noted this captured email from Wink:

Click on image to embiggen


In case you have a hard time making it out, she sent this email to Reince Priebus, then head of WISGOP. But if you'll also notice, she sent the email to Priebus using his email address at Michael Best & Friedrich.

Yes, that's right, Priebus had worked for Scott Walker's favorite law firm. In fact, he's still an employee, who's only "on leave."

To further the possibility of McLeod becoming Russell's attorney is that there is a sort of precedent set for them to spin off a lawyer to his own law firm to aid and abet their skulduggery, as pointed out earlier this year by Emily Mills, then writing for the Isthmus, covering the reprehensible gerrymandering (emphasis mine):
The new Republican-controlled Legislature also gets to headline the state's 10-year redistricting, and already they're pulling some shady moves that raise serious suspicions of gerrymandering.

The GOP is hiring two outside law firms, Michael Best and Friedrich and Troupis Law Office, to help them draw the new legislative district boundaries -- but disallowing the Democrats to hire their own attorneys for the process.

And -- surprise surprise! -- there are direct ties between Republican officials and these firms:
Reince Priebus, chairman of the state's Republican Party and a candidate to lead the Republican National Committee, works for Michael Best. But campaign finance reports show attorneys from the firm have donated to both Republicans and Democrats. James Troupis, who has frequently contributed to Republican campaigns, worked at Michael Best for years before starting his own company last year.
Is it wrong to hire people one knows and presumably trusts for this kind of work? Not inherently, I don't think, but it certainly warrants a raised eyebrow or two. Add on top of that the fact that the fees charged by these outside firms will likely be paid for with taxpayer money, and that Democrats aren't being allowed the same benefit, however, and this goes from suspect to dirty pretty fast.
And lest we forget, Walker retained the legal services of former US Attorney Steven Biskupic to assure the compliance of defend the campaign itself.

It kind of wraps up everything nice and neatly for Walker doesn't it? He hires his favorite law firm to defend his campaign, and then when they've had an opportunity to review all of the evidence and devise defense strategies, a member of said law firm splits off and forms his own law firm.

Priebus and Walker -
discussing legal
defense strategies?
If McLeod would indeed happen to become Russell's attorney, it might not be illegal, per se, but it sure would have a hard time passing the ethical smell test.

But before the gentle reader gets too upset, remember that Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm is no slouch, and neither are any of his prosecutors, as evidenced by their painfully meticulous approach to all of this. And they have a mountain of evidence, of which we, the casual observers, have only glanced a wee fraction.

I would see such a maneuver, if it were to occur, as proof of just how nervous Walker and Priebus are for their own respective hides.

I think I'll make mine some cheesy popcorn. It seems rather appropriate in more ways than one.

19 comments:

  1. So, in Walkersha County ignorance of the law can be used as a defense. The first rule of Republican World is that Cons don't prosecute other Cons. Equal justice under the law is just so 20th century and heaven forbid that the reputation of a Republican apparatchik is damaged.

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  2. If the Republican party ever lost control of the established corporate media their conspiracy to subvert state and the U.S. Constitutions would become ''the news'' resulting not only prosecutions but the dissolution of their grand old scheming party. Thanks to sites like this for helping to bring it on.

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  3. "So, in Walkersha County ignorance of the law can be used as a defense."

    Bullseye.

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  4. I think the Judge should appoint a Public Defender to Russel's case. Then Russel can change his paid lawyers all he wants, but the Public Defender will be there to provide continuity and remove all reasons for any further delays.

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    1. i must be some kind of conservative dipshitJuly 19, 2012 at 1:27 PM

      Sounds like socialism to me!

      What was the original intent of the founding fathers on this topic? If it's not in the Declaration of Independence it is wrong.

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    2. Oh great, make the taxpayers pay for Russel's defense! Should citizens pay his taxes, his golf fees, his cellphone bills too?

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    3. It would also prevent any interference from Team Walker. In the long run, it would be the cheapest way to go.

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  5. Wow! Very interesting connections and read. As Always Capper!

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  6. *frivolous comment alert*

    What better name for a Walker operative than (wait for it) ... "WINK"

    - Suzy Metta4

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  7. By the time this is all over Darlene will be
    aka "Wink the Fink"

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  8. I think the question that should now be asked of Schimel is, "So, you're acknowledging that the person in question did something illegal, but wasn't aware it was illegal at the time?"

    Also, does this mean that this second unknown case in question is now DOA? Would that indicate that Wink is now only needed for the Russell testimony?

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    1. Perhaps the Walkersha DA will need a little help from his friends in Milwaukee (or the FBI) to teach him how to bring charges against their cronies.

      I always was under the impression that ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Maybe the Walkersaha DA is championing the TEA Party's stance: there are so many laws/regulations how do you expect us to know about them?

      That's all fine and good, until you get pulled over for speeding and cite that you didn't see a posted sign.

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    2. Can the Milwaukee County DA bring charges in Waukesha County?

      It looks like Brian Pierick is being charged in Waukesha County by Chisholm, but then why would Schimel even have been consulted and/or made a statement about not bringing charges against this unknown person? Would the Milwaukee DA first recommend that the Waukesha DA bring charges and only step in if the offer is rebutted? If that is the case, I'd also be interested to know why Schimel wasn't interested in the charges against Pierick....?

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    3. They can and did against Pierick. That's why I question the other charge. I think it might be very tangential or a very low level scofflaw.

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    4. If the unknown charge was so low level, would they really be keeping Wink on hold to testify on it? I can understand keeping her on to testify against Russell, but putting off her sentencing for five months due to a low level scofflaw seems unnecessary.

      From what the DAs have said (for both counties), it sounds like the Milwaukee DA is going to go ahead with the case, with the Waukesha DA deciding not to. The Milwaukee DA will then use Wink as a witness during the prosecution. Seems to be a lot of work for something minimal....(considering everything else going on)

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    5. That's not the only reason they're keeping Wink on the hook. I've written as much in the post. Or have you forgotten about Tim Russell and have you forgotten the destruction of digital evidence.

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  9. Here is good article that talks about, in today's environment, post 9-11, how a prosecutor does not need to prove knwledge of the law, or mens rea.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703749504576172714184601654.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_6#project%3DCRIMES_FEDOFFENSES_1107%26articleTabs%3Darticle

    If the Walkersha DA wanted to press charges, he could.

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  10. Cogs,

    Something somebody may want to look into is that Brian Pierick had his address changed in March, whereas Tim Russell still has his address from January listed on the Wisconsin Circuit Court site. I guess it's possible that Brian moved out after all of these charges started to come to light. If that is the case, what are the odds that, on top of having no money, inconsistent lawyers, numerous state felonies, potential federal felonies, more potential state felonies, that his long time life partner and he are on the rocks? I suppose that would give the DA more of a chance to squeeze info out of Mr. Pierick, as a lover scorned is much more likely to roll over on the ex.

    This is probably reading too much into the situation, but with Russell looking at his own set of child enticement charges and Pierick sure to have known what was going on inside the Walker Circle-of-Trust, there seems ample room to make a deal.

    Thoughts?

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    1. I brought that up long ago. I think they split up just because of the financial aspect. No one is going to help Pierick out, but Russell was hoping for some defense fund action of his own.

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