What Took Chisholm So Long?
There were a lot of particularly unhappy Scott Walker haters yesterday. For months, some have been counting on the not-so-secret John Doe investigation being conducted by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm leading to charges against Scott Walker or somehow directly implicating him in the wrongdoing of others.
Sorry guys, nothing like that to see here.
The more significant question to me though is "why did it take so long for the DA to issue these particular charges in the first place"?
The main embezzlement charge against former Walker aide Tim Russell relates to conduct that allegedly occurred between December 31, 2009 and December 7, 2010. Most of the "paper trail" cited in the complaint relates to transactions from early 2010. One charge goes back to January of 2008.
It's now January of 2012!
Take it from me, based on the information contained in the complaint, this is not a particularly complex fraud investigation. There do not appear to be sophisticated efforts to conceal the wrongdoing. If anything, the exact opposite is true. It seems like authorities have been in possession of the records cited in the complaint for several months now.
So why the delay?
The timing of the charges against Brian Pierick are even more peculiar. Pierick is the live-in partner of Tim Russell. Authorities issued a search warrant for the residence of Tim Russell which was executed on December 7, 2010. One of the items seized during execution of the warrant was an iPhone subscribed to by Russell but allegedly used by Pierick
According to the Pierick complaint, the iPhone contained evidence of improper exchanges between Pierick and a high school student. Working backwards, investigators determined that these "chats" occurred between September and November of 2010.
Again, it's now January 2012!
If there was illegal conduct of this nature that came to the attention of authorities in December 2010, how could a responsible prosecutor wait over a year to issue charges? You would think that if you really had a sexual predator operating in the community and you had evidence to prosecute him, you'd get him off the streets as quickly as possible.
I don't know if the prosecutors hoped to use these prosecutions as a wedge to try to get Pierick and Russell to implicate others? If they did, it doesn't appear that this tactic worked - most likely because Russell and Pierick had nothing to contribute.
I don't know whether the issuance of charges yesterday is a response to the criticism about the length of this investigation? That's fine - except how can you not issue child enticement charges as soon as you have the goods?
I don't know where this "continuing investigation" is going. For that matter though, I'm not sure the people running the show at the DA's Office know where the investigation is going either.
However, I do think it's valid to ask - what's taking this "continuing investigation" so long to be completed - and why were these particular prosecutions apparently slow rolled?