M.D. Kittle of the Wisconsin Reporter explains that Eric O’Keefe is under threat of arrest due to exposing the harsh tactics of the Democrat-led John Doe investigation of Wisconsin conservatives.
That simple act of speech could land O’Keefe, director of conservative advocacy group Wisconsin Club for Growth, in jail. Under Wisconsin law, individuals who violate the state’s John Doe secrecy oath may be held in contempt of court.
A legal expert familiar with the investigation says chances are good Bruce Landgraf, the Milwaukee County assistant district attorney who launched the investigation, will go after O’Keefe.
“(The prosecutor) wants to conduct his program without any interference. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he (Landgraf) acted aggressively,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
Multiple sources told Wisconsin Reporter that Landgraf, a top prosecutor in the office of John Chisholm, Milwaukee County’s Democrat district attorney, has shown himself ready to bully and even flout the law in pursuit of political targets. In his previous use of the John Doe law to target conservatives, Landgraf put two men in jail for refusing to be strong-armed into testifying.
“Except for the fact that he’s willing to break the law, (Landgraf is) something of anInspector Javert,” said a source, referring to the ruthless policeman in Les Miserables.
Landgraf is being sued by Rice Lake Harley-Davidson dealer Christopher Brekken for false imprisonment and abuse of process in the fall of 2010. In that politically charged John Doe, Landgraf targeted former aides and associates of Gov. Scott Walker when Walker was Milwaukee County executive.
The judge in that investigation issued a subpoena on the prosecution’s request and later ordered Brekken arrested and jailed because he would not turn over the credit card information of a man eventually convicted in the probe. Ironically, submitting to the DA’s demand for credit card information from his motorcycle dealership would have exposed Brekken to prosecution under a separate Wisconsin law that prohibits retailers from revealing confidential credit card information.
“I don’t know whether (Landgraf) is venal, lazy or incompetent, but I suspect it’s all of the above,” said the legal expert, who has followed Landgraf’s prosecutions in Milwaukee County.