Newly released audio contradicts Walker aide's description of home raid in John Doe probe
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A newly unsealed audio recording made by law enforcement officers as they raided the home of a former longtime aide to Gov. Scott Walker contradicts her description of how the search warrant was executed.
The audio file was submitted to federal court in response to a lawsuit Walker's former aide Cindy Archer filed against prosecutors who led the John Doe investigation. The file was unsealed Monday and posted online Tuesday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which first reported on its contents.
Archer previously said police officers yelled at her, threw a search warrant at her and did not explain her constitutional rights during the 2011 raid.
But an officer can be heard taking more than five minutes reading Archer the warrant and later her Miranda rights. That officer and another one also engage in small talk with Archer and her partner about the house and home improvement projects. At various points, laughter can be heard.
The audio also reveals that Archer was permitted to step outside and have a cigarette and cup of coffee, contradicting her claim that she was not allowed to do that.
"I'm sort of doing you a courtesy by letting you get a coffee and smoke a cigarette just because I imagine being woken up at six in the morning by a bunch of people in black suits is not the way you want to wake up in the day," Milwaukee County District Attorney investigator Aaron Weiss says to Archer.
"Thank you," she says in response.
Archer's attorney, David Rivkin, said in a statement that the recording "confirms Ms. Archer's account of that traumatic morning in every relevant respect."
"Given the trauma of the day, it is not surprising that a victim of these abuses may not remember every detail with perfect clarity," Rivkin said.
Archer has filed a lawsuit against Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and four of his assistants and investigators over the John Doe investigation that focused on her and others who were close to Walker when he served as a Milwaukee County executive.
She argues in the lawsuit that her civil rights were infringed upon by the raid on her home and seizing of personal emails. Archer is seeking unspecified damages for violation of her constitutional rights to free speech and association, and unreasonable search and seizure.
Walker, a Republican, is running for president. Chisholm is a Democrat.
Neither Archer nor Walker was charged in the investigation, but six other Walker aides or associates were convicted on a variety of charges, including two for doing illegal campaign work in 2010.
Weiss, the investigator, tells Archer in the recording that police were following the same procedures as they do in all such raids.
"Cops are trained to be paranoid," he says.
Archer claimed in her lawsuit that officers threw the search warrant at her without giving her an opportunity to read it. In a National Review article, Archer said the lead investigator "towered over me with his finger in my face and yelled like a drill sergeant that I either do it his way or he would handcuff me."
Nothing sounding like that was audible on the recording made public. Instead, Weiss can be heard explaining to Archer how the John Doe investigation works, what computers and phones they would be taking from the house and the process involved with copying and returning them.
The probe into Walker's associates led to a second John Doe investigation into whether Walker's 2012 recall campaign illegally coordinated with conservative groups. The Wisconsin Supreme Court last month ended that investigation, saying nothing being looked at by investigators was illegal.
After Walker was elected governor, Archer became deputy secretary of the Department of Administration. She currently works as chief information technology officer for the state public defender's office.
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