In a stunning rebuke for state and national media, an attorney for a Wisconsin prosecutor leading a once-secret probe into conservative groups says that nothing in recently released documents should be construed as evidence of guilt. In the wake of last week’s release of records in the case, some high profile media outlets rushed to echo the partisan charge that prosecutors believe Gov. Scott Walker – a Republican – is guilty of violating state campaign finance law.
No charges have been filed as a result of the investigation, which focused on conservative groups and Gov. Walker’s campaign team. A federal and state judge have both halted the probe, which initially started in the Democrat-led Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office.
“At the time the investigation was halted, Governor Walker was not a target of the investigation. At no time has he been served with a subpoena,” Randall Crocker, an attorney for special prosecutor Francis Schmitz, told several media outlets in a statement late Thursday morning.
“While these documents outlined the prosecutor’s legal theory, they did not establish the existence of a crime; rather, they were arguments in support of further investigation to determine if criminal charges against any person or entity are warranted,” the statement said.
“Mr. Schmitz has made no conclusions as to whether there is sufficient evidence to charge anyone with a crime. It is wrong for any person to point to this sentence in a legal argument as a finding by the special prosecutor that Governor Walker has engaged in a criminal scheme. It is not such a finding,” the attorney concluded.
The New York Times editorial board treated last week’s document release with a flagrant disregard for the facts. “Gov. Scott Walker’s Campaign Violations” thundered the editorial headline at the Times.
Today’s statement by an attorney for the prosecutor intimately involved in the case raises questions about the journalistic honesty and credibility of the editorial writers at The New York Times. According to today’s statement, the editorial board had to misread some documents and overlook facts to make the assertions leveled in their editorial.
On Wednesday, the reliably left-wing CapTimes of Madison, Wisconsin published an editorial board feature with the headline, “Scott Walker’s desperate defenses just aren’t credible.” The piece alleged that Walker is “at the center of an investigation” that has led him to become desperate to declare he is not a target of the probe.
“The governor is desperate. He is an obsessive and obsessed politician who is running for re-election as governor in order to jump-start a campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination,” the CapTimes blared.
Prosecutors would prefer to differ with the paper, according to today’s statement.