Last week, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley claimed that she and Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson requested a special security plan to be put in place to protect her from fellow Supreme Court Justice David Prosser in early 2011. The accusation is a bombshell and the media has dutifully lapped it up, embracing the controversy and relishing the thought of inserting this salacious story into the spring Supreme Court election.
There is just one simple problem: Lack of evidence.
At best, Justice Bradley is playing fast and loose with the facts.
Justice Walsh Bradley stated, "Although this plan was in effect two months before Justice Prosser and the other justices came to my office on the evening if July 13, 2011, it did not prevent him from becoming agitated and grabbing my neck, wrapping them in a full circle around my neck." Notice, the timing on when the security plan went into effect.
In a statement issued on Friday, former Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs confirmed that a security plan was put in place in early 2011 for the Supreme Court justices, but Tubbs made no mention that the security plan was made to specifically guard against Justice Prosser.
What was going on in the Capitol in early 2011 that would require enhanced security? Perhaps thousands of protesters occupying the Capitol during the turbulent demonstrations against Governor Walker's Budget Repair Bill?
But if you read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story on Tubbs' statement, it reads, "Former Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs issued a statement Friday backing Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley's claim that a security plan was put in place because of security concerns."
A state government insider told RightWisconsin,
"I have no doubt Chief Tubbs gave [the Supreme Court Justices] his emergency numbers, including his personal cell number, during the occupation or the weeks following the court ordered clearing of the protesters occupying the state Capitol." "It was a tense time for everyone who worked in the Capitol, and regular patrols through the building was standard practice," said the insider. "However, we are unable to confirm any Supreme Court "security plan" that went beyond that step. The top officers working by his side during that time report no knowledge of a special security plan. The Chief's statement says he was contacted by a "Supreme Court official in reference to safety concerns."
"What's striking about the Chief's statement is what is NOT addressed.The Supreme Court official, the specific safety concerns, who he discussed a plan with and any specifics of the plan, beyond giving phone numbers is not discussed nor verified by Chief Tubbs."
A statement issued Thursday by Department of Administration spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis stated that there was no evidence of a specific security plan for the Supreme Court Justices."I can't find any evidence this ever happened," said Marquis. "No emails, no conversations. I can't find anything. And trust me I've check this like four times now," said Marquis.
Ultimately, despite what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel claimed, Chief Tubbs statement did not "back" Justice Walsh Bradley's claims. In fact, Chief Tubbs' statement only confirms that a security plan (giving the Supreme Court Justices phone numbers and regular security checks) was put in place at the time of the Capitol occupation in early 2011.
Instead of accepting Bradley's claims wholesale, perhaps the media ought to ask Justice Ann Walsh Bradley why she cannot get anyone to confirm that the 2011 security plan was specifically to guard against fellow Justice Prosser?