Four points emerge from the 70-page investigatory report, released today, of the notorious June 13 confrontation in the State Supreme Court's inner chambers, as compiled by two detectives with the Dane County Sheriff's Department.
The first is that Justices Michael Gabelman and Patience Roggensack, both witnesses, support Justice Prosser's contention that Justice Ann Walsh Bradley came running at Justice David Prosser with fists flying. Another witness, Justice Annette Ziegler, heard Justice Roggensack say "Ann stop it, this is not like you."
All three concur that at no point did Prosser have Bradley in a choke hold.That account vindicates the Christian Schneider account for NRO on June 28.
The second is that Bradley has done this before, once whacking Justice Michael Gableman, he alleges, upside the head for addressing Chief Justice Abrahamson by her first name, Shirley. (We call that a "Gibbs" for the hero of NCIS whacking his assistants when they screw up.)
The third is that it is likely it was Bradley who leaked the incident to complaisant reporters and spun it her way.
"If I cannot get any assurances from you, the court, that this problem is going to be addressed, then I will go to the outside and take other means," Bradley threatened at a follow-up meeting with the Justices and Capitol PD Chief Charles Tubbs.
The fourth is that Justice Prosser is, at the very least, voluble.
Excerpts from Justice Patience Roggensack
Justice Roggensack said the Chief Justice and Justice Prosser were arguing about whether or not a press release was going to be issued, and it was during this argument that Justice Bradley "charged at him [Justice Prosser] with her fist in the air". Justice Roggensack said when Justice Bradley approached Justice Prosser, Justice Prosser raised his hands and put his hands up near Justice Bradley's neck, but his hands were "never in a choke hold." Justice Roggensack said she recalled Justice Bradley saying something to the effect of "don't put your hands on me."
Justice Roggensack again stated Justice Bradley had a fist up at this time. Justice Roggensack then said she wanted to make it clear that at no point did Justice Prosser have Justice Bradley in a chokehold, and Justice Prosser never applied pressure with his hands on Justice Bradley. Justice Roggensack said as soon as Justice Prosser's hands were placed on Justice Bradley, she got in between the two of them and she immediately told Justice Bradley that this was not like her.
Justice Roggensack said Justice Bradley had always been a sort of protector for the Chief Justice because they go back a long way and they are friends. Justice Roggensack said if she had not got in between the two of them, she believes Justice Bradley would have "smacked him in the face with her fist."
... Justice Roggensack believed Justice Bradley was the person that released the info to the press regarding the incident from February 2010 in which Justice Prosser had called the Chief Justice a bitch. ... Justice Roggensack said she recalls during that meeting the Chief Justice was "needling" Justice Prosser at that time, and added that she felt the Chief Justice was "needling" Justice Prosser when they met with her on June 13, 2011 in Justice Bradley's office.
Justice Roggensack said when Justice Prosser gets needled by the Chief Justice, and begins to react and respond to the Chief Justice; Justice Bradley steps in right away to protect the Chief Justice.
Justice Roggensack said she does not fear for her physical safety and feels that she does work in a safe work environment.
I then reviewed Justice Roggensack's statements and stated that I wanted to clarify her statement from her notes from June 13, 2011. When I told her that I wanted to ask her about when Justice Bradley "walked" towards Justice Prosser, she immediately stopped me and corrected me by saying that Justice Bradley did not walk towards Justice Prosser, "she moved towards him very quickly."
Excerpts from Justice Patrick Crooks
Crooks was the only justice not present during the supposed altercation June 13. He is an ally of Abrahamson and Bradley, while Gableman, Ziegler, and Roggensack are usually allied with Prosser as part of the 4-3 majority.
Justice Crooks said he has noted Justice Prosser "loses his cool repeatedly." Justice Crooks has witnessed Justice Prosser get red and pound on tables with his fists, and get louder and louder in tone during meetings, conferences and sometimes even during public meetings. Justice Crooks said there are times that nothing happens that trigger Justice Prosser losing his cool. Justice Crooks said he estimated Justice Prosser "explodes and storms out of a room" approximately three to four times a year.
... Justice Crooks said he has noted Justice Prosser "loses his cool repeatedly." Justice Crooks has witnessed Justice Prosser get red and pound on tables with his fists, and get louder and louder in tone during meetings, conferences and sometimes even during public meetings. Justice Crooks said there are times that nothing happens that trigger Justice Prosser losing his cool. Justice Crooks said he estimated Justice Prosser "explodes and storms out of a room" approximately three to four times a year.
Excerpts from Justice Michael Gableman
Justice Gableman said he recalled Justice Roggensack saying, "Ann this isn't the person you are. This isn't you." Justice Gableman believed Justice Roggensack was pulling on Justice Bradley's left arm at this time. Justice Gableman said Justice Prosser raised his hands and "pushed" Justice Bradley in "a defensive move."
Justice Gableman said he believed Justice Prosser's hands were on the area where the shoulders meet the neck on Justice Bradley at this time. Justice Gableman said it was not a violent push, and after a brief pause he recalled Justice Bradley saying, "you choked me, you choked me." Justice Gableman said he immediately responded to Justice Bradley by saying "he didn't choke you, he pushed you to get your fist out of his face."
Justice Gableman said at this time his mind also went back to September 18, 2008, a date that he recalled because it was his birthday. Justice Gableman said he had been on the court for approximately one month at the time, and while in a meeting with the other justices, Justice Crooks was reading the horoscopes. Justice Gableman said he remembers making a comment to the chief justice in a joking manner and used her first name, Shirley, during this comment towards her.
Justice Gableman said right after he said the chief justice's first name, Justice Bradley came over to him, hit him on the back of the head and told him that he needed to show respect to the chief. Justice Gableman said that he believed Justice Bradley was not joking because nobody was laughing at the time.
The Wisconsin State Journal has the raw reports.