Saturday, June 02, 2012

Tim Russell's Recently Filed Motion

Scott Walker's longtime political operative and aide, Tim Russell has a court date on Monday.  It is for the very serious charges of him allegedly embezzling tens of thousands of dollars.  As most will recall, this case was brought against him based on the ongoing John Doe investigation.  Monday's court date is marked as a pretrial but only a few days ago Russell's attorney filed a motion and I'm wondering if it will be argued at that hearing.

Yesterday I went to the Milwaukee County Courthouse and pulled Tim Russell's file.  Because of the coming court date, the file was already in the actual court room, so that is where I had to examine the file.  Because of timing and logistics, I was unable to obtain copies of the newly filed motions.  The following points are based on my own notes and understanding of the motion that Tim Russell's attorney recently filed. (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel covered some of this Thursday)

  • In recent weeks we have seen a clear and coordinated effort from Walker supporters to attack the John Doe process and the dedicated law enforcement officers that are in charge of investigating and prosecuting alleged crimes related to it.  Based on the recently filed motion it now appears that Tim Russell's lawyers are going to start formally attacking the John Doe investigation, the process, the prosecutors and even the judge. 
  • Tim Russell's lawyer claims that the only "remedies" to the issues that they raise is A. Dismiss the case entirely or B. Suppress virtually all of the key evidence (it specifically mentions evidence that was gathered via search warrants, Subpoenas and even  the testimony of two key witnesses). 
  • Based on my reading of the motion, it seems clear to me that Russell's attorney is very concerned about his client's exposure related to charges that have yet to be filed against him.  Given some of the things that we have read in the various complaints, he certainly should be concerned.  At one point Russell's attorney seems to reference the idea that the prosecutors might be hanging these uncharged issues over Tim Russell's head in order to get him to cooperate.  
  • Tim Russell's attorney repeatedly offers a quote that he attributes to Assistant D.A. Bruce Landgraf as saying, "everybody is cooperative when it comes to Tim".  To me that statement says that Tim Russell's political pals are more than willing to throw him under the nearest prosecutorial bus.
If Tim Russell's attempt to have the case thrown out or for the evidence to be suppressed fails, you have to wonder what would keep him from quickly making a deal.  It seems to be in his own best interests given the massive amount of uncharged legal exposure that is currently hanging over his head.  One would think that the motivation to reach the best deal possible would be increased when his political allies have apparently thrown him so completely under the bus.

I am not sure if this motion will be argued on Monday because I didn't see a response to the motion from the DA's office in the file.  Frankly I don't know when they are going to argue the latest Russell motion but I do know that we should all keep an eye on it.  We should also be keeping an eye on what Tim Russell decides to do if the motion does fail because it could have a direct impact on many of the remaining elements of the John Doe investigation.

Update 1: Also read Capper's take on this, "Russell Tries to Handcuff John Doe"

Update 2: During Tim Russell's court hearing today (6/4/12) it was revealed that it was HIS attorney that released the document that was featured in Dan Bice's story last week.  That document revealed Walker's stonewalling of the DA's investigation.  Furthermore it was revealed in court that Russell's lawyer released this document with his client's permission.  Does Russell still "stand with Walker" or does he finally realize that Walker and Company have thrown him under the bus?


Zach W. said...

Great reporting Cory! I'm not entirely sure on what grounds Russell and his attorney think the evidence gathered against him should be suppressed, but Monday's hearing should be interesting.

Cory Liebmann said...

They claim that the John Doe investigation is too broad and they claim that they have not been given all of the evidence including secret testimony etc. Based on those things they want the case dismissed or evidence suppressed.

morninmist said...


I do not think the DA would be foolish and risk a dismissal by withholding evidence. IMHO. Seems the Russel folks are throwing spaghetti at the wall in hopes that something will stick.

Emily said...

But isn't the whole point of a John Doe that the presiding judge basically gets to decide how broad or limited the scope of the investigation is? This smells like another stalling tactic withou legal merit.

Cory Liebmann said...

I agree...But I think they are talking about other evidence that was not used for these specific charges but that may be used later for new charges. At least that is what I took from my one reading of the motion.

Anonymous said...

There are many perpetrators involved in this ongoing investigation and Tim Russell is at the center of it. My guess is Russell's and his Attorney's are trying to get as much info & evidence out of the DA regarding the other cases to see how close they are getting to Walker. They all know the DA's got the goods on old Timmy boy, and if doesn't cooperate he's looking at many years in prison.
Russell was scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on Monday June 4th. Jury trial was set to begin June 12th. It will be an interesting couple of weeks.