By Alissa Smith Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON — Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney will not investigate a claim by state Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley that she was “choked” by fellow Justice David Prosser earlier this month.
Instead, a team of detectives and supervisors will lead the probe into Bradley’s allegations against Prosser.
The move comes in the wake of a controversy that arose when Mahoney’s involvement in the investigation because of his close political ties to Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson surfaced. Mahoney also endorsed Prosser’s challenger, assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, in the recent Supreme Court race that resulted in a statewide recount of the vote. Prosser won the recount with more than 7,000 votes.
Mahoney’s announcement Tuesday that he will not be involved in the investigation came a day after Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs passed off the investigation to the county sheriff.
“As the Sheriff, I have no role in the assignment of detectives and supervisors or overseeing the investigation,” Mahoney said in the statement.
The sheriff released the statement hours after WisconsinReporter.com left messages requesting an interview.
And on Monday, the Wisconsin Judicial Commission said it was launching its own investigation into Bradley’s allegations.
The commission, which addresses judicial misconduct, did not have a comment on the case in which Bradley said Prosser “choked” her in her chambers June 13, following a debate over the collective bargaining legislation.
Mahoney was leading the police investigation. However, in light of Mahoney’s involvement with Abrahamson’s and Kloppenburg’s campaigns, Rich Esenberg, political science professor at Marquette University, said Mahoney should remove himself.
“If he feels subjectively, then perhaps he should make arrangements for someone else to handle” the case, Esenberg said moments before Mahoney withdrew from the investigation.
The incident is attracting national media attention, as the National Review picked up the story in its blog, The Corner.