A conservative Wisconsin state Supreme Court justice who staved off an unusually intense campaign to replace him this summer will not face criminal charges over allegations that he tried to choke a liberal colleague, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett, a special prosecutor in the case, said that after reviewing investigators' reports, she decided there's no basis to file charges against either Justice David Prosser or Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, who accused Prosser of choking her.
Barrett, who is a Republican, told The Associated Press that the accounts of the other justices who were present when the alleged altercation occurred varied widely, however she declined to elaborate.
"I believe a complete review of the report suggests there is a difference of opinion. There are a variety of statements about what occurred ... the totality of what did happen does not support criminal charges against either Justice Bradley or Justice Prosser," Barrett said.
Walsh Bradley accused Prosser of choking her in June while the justices were deliberating the merits of a lawsuit challenging Republican Gov. Scott Walker's contentious law stripping public workers of most of their collective bargaining rights. Walsh Bradley, 61, is seen as part of the court's three-justice liberal minority, while Prosser, a 68-year-old former Republican legislator, is considered part of the four-justice conservative majority. The factions have been feuding for years.
The court delivered its verdict the day after the alleged incident, ruling 4-3 to uphold the law and allowing it to finally take effect. As expected, Prosser voted with the majority.