Thursday, May 10, 2012

Walkergate: A Most Curious Immunity

News broke tonight of a twelfth witness being granted immunity in the ongoing Walkergate investigation.  Previously, eleven people had been granted immunity for their testimony regarding illegal contributions to Walker's campaign and the illegal politicking and fund raising that was going on in the executive's suite of the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

And, I have to admit, this is a rather curious and perplexing one.

This immunized witness is David Halbrooks.

Halbrooks is not they type of person one would expect to be involved with Walkergate.  He is a former lawyer and judge.  In fact, he was "Of Counsel" to Michael Maistelman's law firm, meaning he didn't work for the firm, but was willing to provide his legal expertise to the firm from time to time.  Halbrooks was also part of the state's Election Board, the predecessor of the GAB, and was part of it when they busted the crooked Mark Block in the Wilcox scandal.

That said, because of his vast experience and storied past, he was/is a bit of a mover and shaker.  He was appointed to the Milwaukee 7, a group consisting of civic leaders, business people and politicians whose mission is to draw businesses to Southeastern Wisconsin.   And some of the board members that Halbrooks worked with include Michael Grebe, Walker's campaign chair; Republican money man Jim Kreuser; and someone named Scott Walker.

A more tangential connection is that he apparently had the support of realtors.  We all know that the realtors were in deep with Walker and a shady deal regarding the renting of a section of the Reuss Federal Building has been reported as being part of the Walkergate investigation.

Without further information, it is impossible to know with any certainty how Halbrooks is involved with Walkergate.  It could be the land deal. It could be another part of it.  It could be something altogether new.

But no matter what, the one thing we know is that Scott Walker is wincing every time the name John Doe or the term Walkergate is brought up.  He can just feel his popularity dropping as fast as the employment numbers in Fitzwalkerstan.

Afterword: Let us not forget that on May 15th, Darlene Wink has her sentencing date and on June 4th, the day before the election, is the final pretrial for Tim Russell.

17 comments:

  1. Wisconsin VeteranMay 10, 2012 at 8:09 AM

    Ballots or handcuffs makes no difference to me as long as Walker is gone.

    Let's all work for the recall. Volunteer at your local Recall Walker office, donate what you can afford and help where you can.

    Defense Fund Scottie must go on June 5th.

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  2. One question to bear in mind is under the John Doe statute, section 3) reads "... A court, on the motion of a district attorney, may compel a person to testify or produce evidence under s. 972.08 (1). The person is immune from prosecution as provided in s. 972.08 (1), subject to the restrictions under s. 972.085."
    - http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/968/26

    Point is that, if my reading of the statute is correct, being granted immunity does not imply that he or she needs immunity because of a suspected crime, rather he or she is granted immunity because of being compelled to testify, and under the John Doe statute immunity would be something like a right if testifying, as the DA searches if and by whom a crime may have been committed.

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  3. Nichols was speculating this morning that it had something to do with Walker interfering in the investigation by putting pressure on other suspects to "fall on the sword," obstruct, ect.

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  4. It's probably just a coincidence as the Milwaukee legal world is relatively small, but one of the prominent supporters appearing at the Realtor's fundraiser for Halbrooks was Attorney Frank Gimbel.

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  5. It is DEEPLY DISTUBING that there are continous leaks about the investigation. That is completely improper and might jepordize the entire investigation. It is unfair to all parties involved. A good lawyer could get charges dropped on that basis alone.

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    1. This is information was from online court records according to the article.

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  6. Then there would never be a successful investigation in the whole US. Since when has an investigation of interest not produced leaks?

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  7. Anonymous....what leaks? Please point out a fact of something that we know that we should not.

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  8. James Krueser is the former democratic minority leader of the Wisconsin Assembly and now County Executive of Kenosha. He appointed Halbrooks (former Krueser staffer) to the M7.

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  9. There are no leaks.

    Just numerous criminal complaints that the Republicans would rather not read. Complaints describe the criminal behavior that the Repulbicans condone.

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  10. Not yet mentioned: Halbrooks and his registration as a lobbyist for Partnership to Preserve Our Entertainment Resources Inc.

    www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/10/24/newscolumn1.html?page=all

    https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2005/related/journals/senate/20051019/_324?down=1

    Some of Halbrook's work of counsel with Maistelman might have been representing the well known Ladybug Club and Questions Entertainment.

    http://www.milwaukeeworld.com/blog/2009/11/donovan-release-claims-licensing-double.html

    http://www.milwaukeeworld.com/blog/2009/12/lady-bug-club-granted-tro-will-be-open.html

    Campaign contributions are mentioned in this Journal Sentinel story "Alcohol licensees pay big, aldermen reap the benefits
    Donation from applicants are an engine of campaign funding" from March 14, 2009:

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/41266692.html

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    1. Just posted at http://m.jsonline.com/150988955.htm "Latest person to get John Doe immunity has Democratic ties".

      "In private practice, Halbrooks has focused on work at the municipal level. He was last registered with the state as a lobbyist in 2006, when he did work for papermaker Arjo Wiggins Appleton.

      Another lobbyist for Arjo Wiggins was Brian Burke according to http://blog.wisdc.org/2005/10/brian-burke-convicted-felon-and.html .


      As we reported in a previous blog, after Burke quit the attorney general race and left the Senate to turn his attention to his legal defense, he was hired by Appleton paper company Arjo Wiggins to lobby for the company.

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  11. Both Burke and Holbrooks and former Ald. Fred Gordon worked for Craig Peterson PR,lobbyist GOP gadfly. He was relevent because he was an associate of Scott Jensen but that was six plus years ago. Arjo Wiggins hired Peterson's firm along with other lobbyists to try to get out of paying for cleaning up the Fox River.

    The county has no sway over liquor licenses.

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  12. Anonymous 12:57, this is not leaked; this is information that is legally required to be made public: the granting of immunity.

    Look up the law before blathering the stupid stuff that Sykes says, okay? He is incorrect almost as often as he is corrupt.

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  13. How is this tied to Walker?

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  14. Wrt to the Darlene Wink case, she indicated that she would testify regarding the destruction of property way back in (I believe) February. I'm wondering how common is it for plea bargaining sentencing to take place before the charges relating to the agreed to testimony takes place? You'd think they'd bring the related charges (to see what she's agreed to testify about) and then hand down her sentence associated with the plea bargain. I guess we'll know more on Tuesday.

    So, the real question is, is there any chance that what she's agreed to testify about (the destruction of property) may not end up having charges brought? Or, would they not have asked her to plea bargain if they weren't already 100% certain that they were going to bring charges?

    As they've given 12 people immunity, one person a "we're not going to charge you" letter, convicted another person already, charged five, and have been on this for two years, you'd think we'd be getting pretty close to the end of this rabbit hole. It did take the feds two years to bring down Ted Stevens, but much less time to get Blagojevich. Although, after reading about Stevens' case, it does sound similar to what we're seeing with Walker.

    Thoughts?

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    1. Huh, looks like the Blago case actually started in 2005, with no charges until the end of 2008. So, we could be waiting a while for more charges in the John Doe case.

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