The investigation into an apparently violent altercation on the Wisconsin Supreme Court just seems to get more and more complicated. Conservative Wisconsin Justice Mike Gableman insisted to the Wisconsin State Journal on Thursday that although he got the date wrong, he was indeed rapped on the head by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley at a meeting in September of 2008 or 2009.
The charge surfaced as part of the ongoing inquiry into an incident that took place on June 13 of this year in which, by many accounts, Justice David Prosser lunged at Justice Bradley and grabbed her by the throat.
The initial date offered by Gableman for the supposed assault upon him by Bradley was September 8, 2008. However, three other justices on the state Supreme Court told the Journal that no meeting of the court had taken place on that day or even that week.
In a written statement, Gableman now says he doesn’t remember if Justice Bradley struck him in 2008 or 2009, but that he remembers the date because “that happens to be my birthday”. He claims that Bradley struck him lightly on the back of the head when he referred to Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson by her first name, telling him he needed to show “respect to the chief”.
Bradley categorically denies the claim, saying, “Whether it is Justice Gableman’s original version or his new version, his described event simply did not happen. I did not strike him on the head in 2008, 2009, or ever.”
An August 25 article in the Journal describes David Prosser as hot-tempered and unpredictable. His “temper tantrums” were frequent and often ended with the justice shouting and storming out of the room. Chief Justice Abrahamson says, “You never know what’s going to set him off.”
For her part, Justice Bradley says she keeps the police on speed dial during legislative sessions because she fears for the safety of herself and for other members of the court. She says that Prosser has his good, even “wonderful” points, “but he needs help”.
Margaret Brady, the court’s Human Resource officer has urged Bradley to take out a restraining order against Prosser, calling him “a classic abuser who minimizes everything”.
Prosser does not deny that he grabbed Justice Bradley by the neck, but claims that he raised his hands to do so in self defense.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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