Two Wisconsin state Supreme Court justices who allegedly had a violent encounter over collective-bargaining legislation won’t face charges, said a state district attorney appointed as special prosecutor to review the incident.
“I have determined that no criminal charges will be filed” against David Prosser and Ann Walsh Bradley for the incident on June 13, Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett said yesterday in a statement.
The alleged violence between the judges took place while the top state court was grappling with what became a decision the next day reinstating legislation limiting public employees’ ability to engage in collective bargaining.
Dane County Chief Judge C. William Foust selected Barrett from neighboring Sauk County thhis month to review the incident at the request of Dane District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, who said he wanted to avoid allegations any action he took was politically motivated.
The Supreme Court is in the state capital, Madison, which is also the Dane county seat. Ozanne’s office in March filed the lawsuit challenging Governor Scott Walker’s collective-bargaining legislation, which led to the June Supreme Court ruling.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Bradley accused Prosser of putting her in a chokehold, a claim that Prosser denied.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s public information officer, Tom Sheehan, didn’t immediately reply to a phone call and e-mail seeking comment on Barrett’s decision. Prosser didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.
In other notable court news, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. executives, including former Chairman Richard Fuld, will settle an investor lawsuit using a $90 million payment from the defunct firm’s insurers, according to a court filing.
The investors blamed Lehman officers and directors for losses on Lehman stock and options from June 12, 2007, to Sept. 15, 2008, according to the filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. Fuld, 65, was chief executive officer of New York- based Lehman, once the fourth-largest U.S. investment bank, before its 2008 bankruptcy.
A bankruptcy examiner said Lehman foundered because of too much debt, which it tried to hide from investors, and risky real estate investments.
Patricia Hynes, a lawyer for Fuld, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Lehman said in November that Fuld would get $10 million from insurers as part of an officers-and-directors program paying for the costs of lawsuits. It also said insurers would be asked to pay as much as $90 million in costs for unidentified defendants in civil, criminal and regulatory proceedings.
Lehman has asked the judge to modify bankruptcy law on nine previous occasions to tap its directors-and-officers insurance, according to Thursday’s filing.
The bankruptcy case is In re Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., 08-13555, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
And in still another court action, lawyers for Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball’s home-run record holder, asked a federal judge to throw out his conviction for obstructing a federal probe of steroid use by professional athletes or order a new trial.
There was no crime in the slugger’s 146-word answer to a grand jury about whether his trainer ever gave him anything that required an injection with a syringe, in which he spoke about being a “celebrity child” who didn’t “get into other people’s business,” his lawyers told U.S. District Judge Susan Illston at a hearing yesterday in San Francisco.
Dennis Riordan, Bonds’s attorney, said the former San Francisco Giants outfielder took about 75 seconds to respond to prosecutors’ direct question and eventually answered “no.” He said upholding the conviction would mean that a defendant could face five years in prison simply by taking 75 seconds to provide a direct answer to the grand jury.
“It’s really preposterous to say there was evasion,” Riordan told Illston, who ended the hearing without issuing a ruling.
Bonds, 47, was convicted in April by a federal jury in San Francisco of obstructing a U.S. probe of steroid use by professional athletes. In a response of about 130 words, Bonds didn’t say yes or no when asked if his trainer Greg Anderson ever game him anything “that required a syringe to inject yourself with.”
Riordan said other evidence shouldn’t be weighed in deciding whether Bonds’s answer to the specific question about a syringe injection was evasive. Illston disagreed.
“I’m obliged to view the totality of the evidence,” Illston told Riordan. “I don’t think it’s fair to say, just focus on the one statement. It seems to me we need to look at this in the context of all the evidence in this trial.”
The case is U.S. v. Bonds, 07-00732, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
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