MADISON, Wis. (AP) — There is no evidence to support Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley's claim that Capitol Police set up extra security to protect her from a fellow justice, officials with Gov. Scott Walker's administration said Thursday.
Bradley wrote in a memo released Wednesday that Capitol Police devised a special security plan to help protect her and Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson from Justice David Prosser in March 2011. Three months later, Prosser wrapped his hands around Bradley's neck during an argument.
Walker's administration controls the Capitol Police. Administration spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis said she has been trying to locate any record of the security plan, but hasn't found anything. She said she's also spoken with current Capitol Police Chief Dave Erwin, the department's deputy chief and rank-and-file officers, and that none of them knew anything about any formal or informal requests for security.
"I can't find any evidence this ever happened. No emails, no conversations. I can't find anything. And trust me I've checked this like four times now," Marquis said.
Messages left at the state Supreme Court offices for Bradley and Abrahamson weren't immediately returned. Court Marshal Tina Nodolf issued a statement saying several justices approached her with "safety concerns" before the incident between Prosser and Bradley and she consulted with the Capitol Police's then-chief, Charles Tubbs, about ways to enhance security.
"I understood Chief Tubbs would increase patrol around the Supreme Court chambers after hours," Nodolf wrote. "I also advised the concerned justices to lock their office doors while working alone after hours, as discussed with Chief Tubbs."
She did not elaborate, and court spokesman Tom Sheehan didn't immediately return a message seeking an interview with her.
Tubbs resigned as Capitol Police chief in April to become Dane County's emergency management director. His office said Thursday he was out until Monday.
Bradley and Abrahamson are generally seen as the court's liberal-leaning minority. They've been feuding with the court's four-justice conservative majority, including Prosser, for years.
Tensions have been running especially high between Prosser, Bradley and Abrahamson since February 2010, when Prosser used an expletive to insult Abrahamson during an argument and threatened to destroy her.
Bradley wrote in her memo that she met with the state courts director that month and asked that someone do something about Prosser's behavior. She said nothing was done.
In March 2011, she noticed Prosser was becoming increasingly agitated, and a now-retired deputy state courts director warned her that Prosser might pose a physical threat. Bradley said she and Abrahamson set up a security plan with police that called for them to lock their office doors when they were working alone and after-hours. She said officers gave her and Abrahamson cellphone numbers for Tubbs, asked Abrahamson to notify the department when she worked late, offered to escort her when she left at night and promised to patrol the area more often.
About three months later, in June 2011, Prosser wrapped his hands around Bradley's neck during an argument in her office. The justices were quarreling over a legal challenge to Walker's contentious law stripping most public workers of nearly all their union rights. Prosser has maintained Bradley charged at him, and he defended himself.
Prosser was cleared of any criminal wrong-doing, although the state Judicial Commission filed an ethics complaint against him. Prosser avoided any discipline, though; his punishment is up to his fellow justices and he has convinced his conservative colleagues to recuse themselves from the case, essentially stopping the complaint for a lack of a quorum.
Prosser is a former Republican state Assembly speaker. Walker is a Republican as well.
Bradley released the memo as Prosser's conservative ally, Justice Pat Roggensack, faces a primary election next week. Bradley took Roggensack to task in the document for minimizing the court's problems on the campaign trail and enabling Prosser's behavior.
Roggensack has denied downplaying the problems and has said she believes both Prosser and Bradley were out of line during the argument in Bradley's office.
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