MADISON, Wis. — One year ago, about an hour before dawn, police surrounded the homes of several Wisconsin conservatives and then hit them with floodlights.
Police didn’t draw their guns. They didn’t have to. Garish light blinded the groggy targets of the secret probe, startling neighbors. The uniforms, the lights, the early hour got everybody’s attention. One of the targets says police threatened to use battering rams to break down the front door, but the targets let them in.
Armed with warrants approved at the request of prosecutors, investigators searched the homes for evidence of a political crime.
The fact that Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm is a Democrat and the targets of the simultaneous paramilitary-style raids were all conservatives has generated controversy over the past year.
But the dramatic details of the raids have been lost in the fog of Chisholm’s war. Under terms of the state’s so-called John Doe law, targets of such investigations are ordered to keep their prosecution a secret.
But now Eric O’Keefe and others have agreed to speak for the first time about what happened the morning of Oct. 3, 2013.