On the Young Turks Friday, David Shuster claimed that he is almost certain that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be indicted in the coming months for his role in the numerous scandals floating around his first campaign for governor. Shuster later clarified his claim on the Take Action News Facebook page:
According to lawyers familiar with a Milwaukee criminal corruption probe, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is now a "target" for prosecution.
The legal sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Walker faces "serious legal challenges," including a "possible indictment" regardless of the gubernatorial recall election results on Tuesday.
The investigation began in 2010 when Walker served as Milwaukee County executive.
Six people have been charged, with accusations ranging from campaigning for Walker on government time to embezzlement. 13 other Walker associates have been given immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony in the case.
This week, Governor Walker acknolwedged he has now transferred $160,000 from his campaign accounts to a legal defense fund. Mr. Walker confirmed the money is strictly for his own defense and not for any current or former staff.
Lawyers for Governor Walker recently appeared at the Milwaukee courthouse but refused to say why they were there. The lawyers have also refused to comment on the Governor's status in the investigation.
On Tuesday, Wisconsin voters will go to the polls in the state's recall election. Fifteen months ago, Walker set off huge protests at the Capitol when he took aim at unions representing state government workers and passed a law ending many of their rights to collective bargaining.
There was a buzz of excitement in the late hours thinking that Shuster had stronger information about a possible indictment, but it appears that it is simply a conclusion based on the available evidence, not a report of an actual impending indictment. Wisconsin blogger Steve Hanson:
There was a little flurry of excitement in the cheddarsphere tonight caused by David Shuster's appearance on The Young Turks, followed by a Tweet, followed by an announcement at the Tom Morello concert, followed by a tweetstorm. I think it was a lot of excitement for what there actually is. Shuster's TV appearance amounted to saying that there is "every indication" that Walker is now a subject of the John Doe investigation, and could possibly be indicted in the next few months.
I don't think it has been possible to come to any other conclusion on the basis of Walker's use of a criminal defense fund and the legal implications of that. But it is still a supposition, and under the circumstances it's fairly clear we will have to wait until after the election to get a clear picture of what has been going on.
It would be nice for Walker to be indicted before the recall election, almost guaranteeing that he would lose, but there is little to no chance that will happen and it's distinctly likely that Walker could win the election, then be indicted afterwards. I'm not an expert on Wisconsin law, but couldn't that lead to impeachment, removal and replacement by whoever ends up as the lieutenant governor after Tuesday?