Is THIS why the Milwaukee John Doe Probe closed with a whimper?
A former top-level assistant U.S. attorney has been appointed a special prosecutor in a burgeoning, secret investigation into a wide variety of state issues, including possible campaign violations during the recent recall elections, multiple sources said.This is the type of news that normally dumps out late on Friday, but here it is first thing on Monday. Better yet, this probe was going on BEFORE the Milwaukee County John Doe Probe closed after the conviction of Kelly Reindfleisch, the former top aide to County Executive Scott Walker and 6th associate of his to be charged and convicted.
Francis Schmitz — who spent nearly 30 years as a federal prosecutor and was once a finalist for U.S. attorney in Milwaukee — is leading the widespread John Doe probe, according to sources.
Overseeing the case is Kenosha County Circuit Judge Barbara A. Kluka, who has been used by Milwaukee County judicial officials in past John Doe cases.
Bruce Landsgraf handled most of the Milwaukee County John Doe cases and ended the case against Reindfleisch with recitation of a litany of wrongdoings in the Milwaukee County Executives office. That long list led many of us to suspect additional charges and more revelations in the near future, but, shockingly a few days later, the judge overseeing the John Doe closed the probe and sealed all evidence and records in the investigation. Litigants in a lawsuit and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel have been trying to get those records unsealed.
The unexpected closure of the John Doe after the conclusion of the Reindfleish trial was mystifying particularly in light of Landsgrafs closing remarks detailing many of the uncovered wrongdoings.
"It's now spread to at least five counties," said a source familiar with the probe, adding that Landgraf has been investigating "all over the place."
Sources said the investigation is following up on a number of leads turned up by an earlier John Doe probe, which was led by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm into the former and current aides of Gov. Scott Walker during his time as Milwaukee County executive.More important is the information that the statewide probe began in February 2012, while the Milwaukee County John Doe was still active. Is this why the County-wide John Doe was closed?
Sources familiar with the probe told the Journal Sentinel that it was scrutinizing a wide variety of state-related issues, including the recall races. Sources suggested the probe is looking at a current legislative leader and the governor's contest.The recall races? State related issues? I can't wait to find out more.
There has been no response from the Walker campaign despite multiple requests from the media, but the Republican trolls are all over the place with the usual "witch hunt" and other talking points.
As disappointed as we all were with the quiet closure of the John Doe after the bombshell revelations in Kelly Reindfleischs case, this statewide probe might have been the reason. At the time, it was pretty amazing that all those wrongdoings were not going to be prosecuted. My disgust and astonishment were expressed in my diary at the time.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and his office were relentlessly attacked by Republicans during the original John Doe. The new special prosecutor was one of 3 finalists to be considered for the US Attorneys post under George W. Bush. Steven Biscupic, the eventual appointee, is currently representing the Walker campaign.
More information available at Cog Dis and I expect that this will expand to other sources. For now the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is the only media outlet currently covering this story.
I'll update as further information becomes available.
Still nothing in our local media other than the Bice column, but RW radio is covering this story in their usual way.