In June, Cindy Archer, a member of Gov. Scott Walker’s inner circle during Walker’s time as Milwaukee County Executive, filed a lawsuit against Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm alleging prosecutorial abuses during a search of Archer’s residence in 2011 in connection with the John Doe investigation in Walker and many of his closest advisors. Archer’s suit alleged officers threw a search warrant at her without letting her read it, screamed at her, ransacked her house, blocked her from going outside to smoke, and didn’t inform her of her constitutional rights or tell her she could speak with a lawyer.
However, as a new report by Brendan Fischer of PR Watch notes, Archer’s claims aren’t supported by a recently released audio recording of the search of Archer’s residence.
In April, Archer was the star of a National Review article called “Wisconsin’s Shame” that spoke of “armed pre-dawn raids” and screaming police with battering rams ransacking her home. The article sparked a firestorm across right-wing media (including Fox News) and was even cited by the Wisconsin Supreme Court as “proof” that prosecutors used “paramilitary style raids” in conducting their investigations of Walker, even though the searches were not being challenged and hadn’t been addressed before the court.
In June, Archer announced in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that she was filing a civil rights lawsuit against state prosecutors. She alleged prosecutors had a “personal vendetta” against her for helping to craft Walker’s 2011 anti-union Act 10 legislation. Her lawsuit describes a September 2011 search of her home where she claims officers threw a search warrant at her without letting her read it, screamed at her, ransacked her house, blocked her from going outside to smoke, and didn’t inform her of her constitutional rights or tell her she could speak with a lawyer.
Yet Archer’s allegations about overzealous prosecutorial tactics fall apart in a recording of the 2011 search, filed by prosecutors in response to her lawsuit and made public yesterday.
The search, which was led by experienced FBI agents, was taped by Aaron Weiss, an investigator with the Milwaukee District Attorney’s office. Although the first few minutes of the tape are muffled, the three-hour long recording shows that the interaction between Archer and the agents was quiet and cordial. The tapes reveal Archer, her partner, and the agents joking, chatting about dogs and aquariums, and discussing home repairs and coffee-making techniques.
I’d encourage you all to go read the PR Watch report and then listen to the attached audio clips of the search of Cindy Archer’s residence.