Source for conservative smear piece against DA Chisholm & wife is former cop who made threats against Chisholm

On Wednesday I reported on the conservative smear piece alleging Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm’s use of the John Doe investigation process to investigate (and successfully prosecute) a number of aides and close associates to then-County Executive Scott Walker was motivated by his wife’s feelings about Act 10.

The piece is pure trash, and it made extensive use of an unnamed source who was a “longtime Chisholm subordinate” who used to work in the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office. However, as reported by Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the unnamed source used in the smear piece is not a “longtime subordinate” of John Chisholm’s – but he is a man who has made death threats against DA Chisholm and his family within the past year.

The source for reporter Stuart Taylor Jr.’slengthy article in Legal Newsline: a “longtime Chisholm subordinate” who is now a “former staff prosecutor in Chisholm’s office.”

Only those descriptions are not accurate. Not even close.

No Quarter has confirmed that the source making the allegations is a figure well-known in Milwaukee’s legal community — but not for his prosecutorial record.

Michael W. Lutz, 44, is a former Milwaukee cop involved in several high-profile incidents during his 17 years on the force who receives taxpayer-funded duty disability pay for post-traumatic stress disorder. He got his law license less than four years ago and is now a criminal defense attorney.

But here is the shocker: Lutz issued a death threat, apparently during a drunken rage, against the prosecutor and his family last year — a charge not in dispute, though it was never prosecuted.

On Thursday, Lutz dodged questions as to whether he was the anonymous source making the bold claims. He said by email that he wished “to stay out of this firestorm,” even if he helped create it.

Later, at his house, Lutz said he couldn’t talk because Chisholm would “destroy” him. Asked if he was denying that he talked with Taylor, Lutz said, “No, I didn’t say that.”

Taylor declined to identify his source “unless and until he releases me from my promise of confidentiality.” Late Friday, Richard Miniter, CEO of American Media Institute — which commissioned the story — acknowledged that Lutz was the anonymous source.

The fact that the author of the smear piece against DA Chisholm used as his primary source a man who made death threats against DA Chisholm and his family speaks volumes about the lengths conservatives are willing to go to in order to discredit the work DA Chisholm has done to hold those who’ve engaged in misconduct in public office accountable for their illegal behaviors.

And after all is said and done, the fact that the John Doe investigation has resulted in a number of successful felony convictions against aides and associates of Scott Walker should be all the proof anyone needs that the John Doe investigation was certainly warranted.


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10 thoughts on “Source for conservative smear piece against DA Chisholm & wife is former cop who made threats against Chisholm

  1. Zach, thanks.

    My understanding is that Lutz claimed to be a victim of PSTD. How does a victim of PSTD graduate from UW-Law? Either he’s “recovered” from his PSTD, in which case, he shouldn’t be getting any more paychecks, or I think someone should investigate him for being a Charlie Sykes “moocher.”

    I’m guessing Mr. Lutz had help connecting with Stuart Taylor, the author of the hit-piece on Mrs. Chisholm. Mike Grebe (Bradley Foundation) and the oligarchs would be very familiar with Stuart Taylor. I would be very interested in what Mr. Lutz knows.

    Interesting that a former police officer and now a criminal defense attorney didn’t take photos of the “blue-fist” posters that he claimed were on the walls inside the DA’s office.

    Shame on Stuart Taylor for not checking out his source.

    1. @John Casper…it’s PTSD. Are you an expert in PTSD? It’s probably safe to assume you’re not.

      There are all kinds of people that suffer from PTSD resulting from all kinds of different scenarios. Most of them function just fine in society. It doesn’t take an expert to understand the difference between going to law school and putting on a badge and gun to potentially face the same type of situations that got him shot to begin with. Can you not see that?

      @Zach…how long has it been since the last actual criminal charges were filed in this John Doe? Couple years?

      @Jake…could you be more hypocritical? This whole John Doe saga has served as the launching pad for dozens of scurrilous accusations and insinuations.

      Not sure why you are displeased with the MJS. Bice didn’t lift a finger to look into Lutz’s claims, preferring to expose and discredit the source.

        1. Really, John? Really? “Moocher”? The guy was shot and wounded in the line of duty and it wasn’t the first time he confronted armed/dangerous individuals. You ever put your pompous ass on the line like that? Are you so dense as to not understand that someone surviving such a situation may suffer from PTSD? It’s not like the movies, John. When you get shot, you don’t just dust yourself off and say “no biggie.” And yes, for some who survive such ordeals, carrying a weapon and hitting the streets is too stressful. To extrapolate that out to a general comment about all police officers is stupid.

          Your original statement suggests it’s either/or when it comes to PTSD as if Lutz should either be a vegetable or he should return to duty. That’s rather simple-minded. Fact of the matter is that police officers who go on disability only collect those payments if they don’t work another job. Rather than live off the dole, Lutz sought to improve himself by putting himself through law school and returning to the workforce, which is the exact opposite of being a moocher.

          1. Roland,



            When you get that first glimmer of concern for the safety of law enforcement, you’ll join the rest of us conservatives in demanding and end to the “job-killing-government-regulations” against marijuana. The prohibition against alcohol didn’t work either.

      1. Roland, what does the length of time since the last criminal charges related to the John Doe have to do with the underlying issue here, which is the assertion that John Chisholm was motivated to initiate the John Doe based on his wife’s feelings?

        That’s the real issue, as well as the depths some conservatives seem so willing to sink to in order to distract from the fact that the John Doe PROVED that members of Scott Walker’s inner circle were engaging in illegal behavior just feet from his office.

        I’m surprised you’re not more outraged by that, as someone who seems to be pretty “law and order.”

        1. The length of time has everything to do with a discussion about John Chisholm’s motivations.

          Why did the John Doe continue? Peoples’ homes and offices were raided. Countless amounts of materials and personal property seized. Was there a solid trail of evidence? If there was, why haven’t any charges been brought in years? When the trail went cold, why persist? To have a never ending secret investigation points to motivations other than the simple pursuit of the truth and smacks of a politically motivated witch hunt.

          The only outrage I felt about the “suspects” in this investigation was related to the jerks who stole money and who possessed child porn. Darlene Wink getting charged with a crime for posting internet comments doesn’t really get my dander up considering Democrats do the same and rarely, if ever, get investigated let alone charged with a crime.

          I am a law and order guy, which is why I have a problem with a District Attorney abusing his office to gain political advantage.

          1. The post was about unfounded allegations made by a dubious source, Roland. For a law and order guy you sure have a blind spot for the obvious. I hope to Christ you’re not an investigator.

  2. But look at how much coverage that scurrilous article got, because of the megaphone of right-wing radio and the sheep-like nature of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

    Now compare that to how much coverage was given to Mary Bottari’s great article in the Progressive on WEDC, which includes directly-sourced quotes from a former WEDC employee describing how investigations into missing money were covered up, and that the organization was more concerned with Walker PR than creating jobs.

    We have to play hardball with the other media outlets, and shame them into covering this corruption and cheating. The other guys already are, and they don’t have facts on their side like we do. The wall of propaganda is one of the right-wing’s biggest advantages with low-info voters- we need to fight it.

  3. The MJS did its intended damage by publishing this story without looking into how this story came into being. The website it came from was run by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whose WMC was being investigated by John Doe.
    The American Media Institute, headed by Richard Miniter, commisioned the story.
    Miniter formed AMI in 2012, and has Richard Perle on its board with him. Perle, has been a long recipient of Bradley Foundation funding, through Project For The New American Century, American Enterprise Institute, as well as the Hudson Institute (where Miniter worked just prior to founding AMI).
    Why can’t the MJS do some investigative journalism into how they can print, no questions asked, this obviously politically partisan story?
    AMI, including Stuart Taylor, works out of the Washington, DC area. So just how was Taylor hooked up with a story that Lutz suddenly had the urge to tell America???????!
    Dan Bice, tell us all about it.

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