Saturday, September 20, 2014

Michael Lutz and John Chisholm - Death Threat Tape

Predictably, whistleblower Michael Lutz has been brutally attacked by Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm and his allies for revealing the partisan nature of Chisholm's John Doe investigation targeting Scott Walker. Lutz noted Chisholm's wife, Colleen, as a motivating force driving Chisholm's crusade.  The D.A. responded with guns blazing.

Dan Bice, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter and mouthpiece for Chisholm and other Wisconsin Democrats, dutifully smeared Lutz with "explosive" allegations.

On Friday, Stuart Taylor, Jr. wrote a follow-up piece to his initial story exposing Chisholm's intent to get Scott Walker. He explains the harassment that Michael Lutz and his family have endured at the hands of Chisholm, Bice, and allies.

After missing a scoop on Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm’s long-running investigation into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writers, along with the district attorney’s staff, hunted down the key source who had asked for anonymity, fearing retaliation.

That story, produced by the American Media Institute and published by Legal Newsline last week, said that the district attorney’s wife was a teachers union shop steward, had taken part in demonstrations against the Republican governor’s proposal to curb public employee unions and was repeatedly moved to tears by governor’s legislative crusade.

...AMI’s confidential source was a former prosecutor in Chisholm’s office who feared his reputation and his law practice would suffer if he were unmasked.

The district attorney’s staff launched a Nixon-style “mole hunt” to find the anonymous source, a Journal Sentinel columnist said, and was annoyed that the description of the confidential source wasn’t precise enough to identify him. The staff developed a list of roughly a dozen suspects, the columnist said. The Journal Sentinel never reported this secret search.

The feared retaliation was not long in coming. The Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice, whose “political watchdog” column is titled “No Quarter,” appeared after dark at the source’s home on Sept. 11. Bice’s persistent door-bell ringing and heavy knocks awakened and frightened the source’s sleeping 12-year-old daughter, he said. The noise was so loud that a neighbor came out to investigate the din, he said.

When the source, a decorated and disabled-in-the-line-of-duty police officer, Michael Lutz, came to the door, he opened it a crack to hear Bice demand to know if he was the person quoted in the story. He did not deny it and speaks exclusively on the record in this story for the first time.

...Lutz felt he had a lot to lose if his identity were revealed, which Bice and the Journal Sentinel did on Sept. 12. Lutz felt that if he were exposed as the source, it would be hard to find clients once everyone in the county knew that the district attorney was now his enemy.

Most journalists’ first instinct is to protect the identity of whistleblowers against powerful people likely to retaliate against them. Not columnist Bice or the Journal Sentinel. They have devoted their energy to exposing Lutz’s identity, subjecting him to attacks, and seeking to discredit him.
Taylor spells out the smear job on Lutz, providing details on the alleged death threat.
...In his Journal Sentinel article headlined “Source who accused Chisholm of vendetta has troubled past,” Bice wrote: “But here is the shocker: Lutz issued a death threat, apparently in a drunken rage, against the prosecutor [Chisholm] and his family last year — a charge not in dispute, though it was never prosecuted.”

In reality, Lutz says, here’s what happened: His best friend and former police partner, Jon Osowski (also the brother of Chisholm’s wife) was in trouble and requesting help in alarming phone conversations with Lutz. Urgently, Lutz phoned the Chisholms, leaving messages expressing increasing and agitated concern for his friend, Osowski.

Finally, Lutz says, he succeeded in reaching the district attorney, goading him into action to aid his brother-in-law. Chisholm responded by going out into the night to help Osowski, Lutz says.

Lutz couldn’t go himself because Osowski wouldn’t say where he was, but Lutz was confident that Chisholm knew how to find him. Lutz also knew that the only person that Osowski would listen to in his time of trouble was his sister, Chisholm’s wife.

There was no death threat, Lutz stresses. “Any person who knows anything about the friendly relationship between myself, John Chisholm and Jon Osowski and my intense desire to get some family help for a dear friend knows, in context, what that call truly means. I think it is shameful to distort its intent. I do admit I could have used more tact in spurring the Chisholms to action.”

Lutz also adds that he and Chisholm “laughed about it” the next day and on subsequent occasions.

If he had said anything close to a death threat, Lutz notes, he would surely have been criminally prosecuted. He was not.
According to Taylor, Lutz says that Chisholm has the recorded messages in his possession.

Chisholm should release the audio.

That would settle this dispute. Simple. Get that "explosive" stuff out there.

However, if Lutz truly threatened Chisholm and his family with death, why wasn't he prosecuted?

Chisholm looks bad if the death threat allegations are true or not.

Bottom line: It's unethical and unprofessional for Chisholm, via Bice, to smear Lutz and ruin his career, making his children suffer, without providing proof that the accusations are factual.

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