Wis. gov.'s spokesman given immunity in probe

AP News
Posted: Sep 23, 2011 7:31 PM
Wis. gov.'s spokesman given immunity in probe

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's spokesman and two others have been granted immunity in an investigation of the Republican governor's current and former aides.

Retired Waukesha County Judge Neal Nettesheim said Friday that he granted immunity to Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie, Wisconsin and Southern Railroad spokesman Ken Lucht and Milwaukee County Republican Party official Roseann Dieck.

Nettesheim said in an interview from his home that they were granted immunity at different times, more than 60 days ago, during the course of a secret John Doe investigation. That investigation is a proceeding in which witnesses can be compelled to testify under oath about potential criminal matters.

Nettesheim, who is overseeing a secret investigation into people who worked for Walker when he served as Milwaukee County executive, did not have the precise dates of when immunity was granted. He said the only part of a John Doe investigation that is public is the granting of immunity. The proceeding allows witnesses to be subpoenaed, while forbidding them from talking publicly about the case.

Werwie had no comment when reached by AP. Dieck and Lucht did not immediately return messages seeking comment late Friday.

Werwie joined Walker's campaign as spokesman after the September primary and remained with him when he took office in January. Dieck is a longtime Republican activist who is listed as the chairwoman of the southwest branch of the Milwaukee County Republican Party.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported the granting of immunity on Friday. The newspaper, citing unidentified people familiar with the case, has previously reported that investigators are looking into whether Walker's aides conducted political activity on the taxpayer dime.

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The newspaper also has reported that people familiar with the investigation said the investigation focuses on the activities of Cynthia Archer, a top Walker aide, and Tom Nardelli, Walker's former county chief of staff. Both worked three years in Walker's county executive office and both followed him to Madison after the November election.

Last week, FBI agents raided Archer's Madison home. She had been working for Walker's administration as a top aide before going on sick leave in August. Nardelli quit his state job in July.