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Darrell Brooks Bail Hearing Recording Does Not Exist Due to ‘Technical Issues’ or ‘Human Error’

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There is no recording or transcript of the controversial hearing in which Waukesha parade suspect Darrell Brooks was released on $1,000 bail, Wisconsin Right Now has learned. Milwaukee County blames “technical issues” or “human error.”

Milwaukee County’s court system is unable to produce a recording or transcript of the controversial Darrell Brooks bail hearing that resulted in the Waukesha parade suspect going free just 10 days before the attack, Wisconsin Right Now has exclusively learned. The recording doesn’t exist due to either technical issues or human error, the district court administrator tells WRN.

Indeed, other than a short paragraph on the Wisconsin online court website, the county can produce no transcript or other record of what was said at the hearing at all.

That’s even though the hearing has earned the Milwaukee County District Attorney, John Chisholm, and a court commissioner, Cedric Cornwall, a raft of negative national headlines. Brooks’ $1,000 bail in the pending felony case has sparked renewed criticism of the “bail reform” movement nationwide (read our story rounding up court system failures in the Brooks’ case here).

We requested a transcript or recording of the hearing because we believed the public deserves to know what rationale officials gave for Brooks’ low bail.

Holly szablewski
Holly szablewski

Milwaukee County chief judge, Mary Triggiano, told WRN exclusively that there are “no recordings” for intake court that afternoon, where Brooks’ bail was set at $1,000 on Nov. 5, she believed because of “technical issues.” However, she referred WRN to Holly Szablewski, district court administrator, for additional details. We would note that Triggiano is always very forthcoming and transparent with us; she responds quickly and tries to provide the available details in an expedient fashion.

Szablewsk told Wisconsin Right Now: “No recording is available from which to prepare a transcript. This may have been the result of human error or a technical malfunction.”

She added: “We became aware of a digital audio recording problem in a court commissioner hearing room when we received a request for a transcript of Mr. Brooks’ initial appearance. Upon review, we found that there are no recordings available for the afternoon of 11/5/2021, all-day 11/7/2021, and all-day 11/8/2021.”

The paragraph below is the only record that exists of the controversial hearing, despite its national impact, Szablewski and Triggiano acknowledged. Note that the records reflect a “digital recording,” but it doesn’t exist even though the digital recordings are usually preserved. The live-streamed videos in intake court – called Dacast – are a different matter; they are never preserved, and this one was not, either. If you click on the Dacast link in the below court record paragraph, you get no video.

Darrell brooks bail hearing recording

We wanted to see exactly what was said by the commissioner, an assistant DA (Carole Manchester), and the defense attorney, in the hearing in which Brooks was controversially granted the low bail even though he was accused of a felony for allegedly running over a woman in a gas station parking lot. Furthermore, he was out on $500 bail for another pending felony shots fired case. On Nov. 21, he’s accused of running over dozens of people at the Waukesha Christmas parade, killing six of them and wounding many more, including children and members of the Dancing Grannies troupe.

We requested a recording or transcript from the earlier 2020 bail hearing too, and we were told one will likely be available because the hearing was in front of a judge, with a court reporter, whereas initial appearances before court commissioners are usually recorded only. However, we haven’t received the transcript yet.

Milwaukee County intake courts, where bail is generally set, are digitally recorded. The court records online even indicate “digital recording” and “video conferencing” next to the hearing where Court Commissioner Cedric Cornwall set Brooks’ bail at $1,000. He posted it on Nov. 11.

After the parade attack, John Chisholm acknowledged his assistant DA, Carole Manchester, recommended bail that was “inappropriately low.” Chisholm promised an investigation.

Darrell Brooks Bail Hearing Recording Missing

“Due to technical issues with the digital audio recording unit, there are no recordings for proceedings that occurred in Intake Court the afternoon of November 5th.  We had problems on other days as well.  In addition, we do not record the Dacast video hearings,” Triggiano wrote WRN.

Darrell brooks bail hearing recording

We sent Szablewski a list of follow-up questions:

What are the problems and what caused them?

“No recording is available from which to prepare a transcript. This may have been the result of human error or a technical malfunction,” Szablewski said. “Because court commissioner hearings are not required to be on the record (see Wisconsin Supreme Court rule 71.01(2)(a)), the digital audio equipment is not monitored on a real time basis.  As a result, we were not aware of the problem as it was occurring and therefore cannot speculate as to what caused the issue.”

Is there any other record of the 2021 bail hearing? Was there a court reporter/written transcript… is there any other backup?

Szablewski responded, “The record of Mr. Brooks’ initial appearance can also be found in the clerk’s notes entered in the court record for that case. This is also known as the ‘minute record’ required under Wis. Stat. 59.40(2). Under Wisconsin Supreme Court Rule 71.01(2)(a), a verbatim record is not required in proceedings before a court commissioner that may be reviewed de novo before a judge (i.e., bail and conditions of bail set at an initial appearance). ”

Has this happened before? What’s the vendor?

Szablewski responded, “Although infrequent, we have had other instances of no recordings with the equipment in this court commissioner hearing room.  This is not a vendor-provided service. The digital audio recording equipment, as well as the courtroom audio system, has been purchased by the county and is operated by court staff.”

Here’s part of what Chisholm said in his previous statement about the hearing:

“The State made a cash bail request in this case of $1,000, which was set by the court. The defendant posted $1,000 cash bail on November 11, resulting in his release from custody.

The State’s bail recommendation, in this case, was inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent changes and the pending charges against Mr. Brooks.”

Read his full statement here.

 

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Hawley: Whistleblowers Say Trump’s Security Detail Was Unprepared, Inexperienced

Multiple whistleblowers have come forward telling U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., that many working as part of former President Donald Trump’s security detail at a rally in Pennsylvania one week ago weren’t Secret Service and were “unprepared and inexperienced personnel,” Hawley says.

The accusation comes after the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, on which Hawley sits, announced it will conduct a bipartisan investigation into the July 13 assassination attempt of Trump.

Multiple whistleblowers contacted his office “with disturbing new information behind the assassination attempt on the former president,” he said.

They did so after Hawley opened a whistleblower tip line, pledging to protect the anonymity of everyone who contacts his office. Whistleblowers are encouraged to make protected disclosures by calling (202) 224-6154 or emailing [email protected].

In response to the information he has received so far, Hawley contacted Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who oversees the U.S. Secret Service, demanding answers.

“Whistleblowers who have direct knowledge of the event have approached my office. According to the allegations, the July 13 rally was considered to be a ‘loose’ security event,” he wrote to Mayorkas.

“Whistleblower allegations suggest the majority of DHS officials were not in fact USSS agents but instead drawn from the department’s Homeland Security Investigations. This is especially concerning given that HSI agents were unfamiliar with standard protocols typically used at these types of events, according to the allegations.”

Other security failures identified, he says, include not using canine units to monitor entry and detect threats among the perimeter or crowd; unauthorized individuals accessing the backstage areas; and DHS personnel not “appropriately polic[ing] the security buffer around the podium and … not stationed at regular intervals around the event’s security perimeter.”

Hawley demanded answers after DHS “has not been appropriately forthcoming with members of Congress,” he said, and after he called on the committee’s chair, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., to immediately launch an investigation.

“Although we still do not have all the facts, the little that we do know suggests a staggering security failure,” he wrote to Peters. “Evidently, the shooter was able to gain an elevated position on a rooftop with a clear line of sight of the President, well within accurate range, with a firearm. The details of this tragedy must be vigorously investigated by Congress, including the motive of the shooter, and the serious operational failures that occurred on July 13.” Hawley called on Peters to “launch a full, public, and comprehensive committee investigation into this assassination attempt and failures to adequately protect the former president,” including calling Mayorkas and Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle to testify.

Peters and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, the ranking member of the committee, announced the committee will conduct a bipartisan investigation and hold a hearing. They first requested an urgent briefing with the Secret Service, DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A call committee members did have, Hawley says, was ended before they could ask a single question. “This is completely unacceptable and contrary to the public’s interest in transparency,” he added.

Peters said the committee “is focused on getting all of the facts about the security failures that allowed the attacker to carry out this heinous act of violence that threatened the life of former President Trump, killed at least one person in the crowd, and injured several others.”

Peters and Paul also sent letters to Mayorkas and to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting a range of documents and information on security process, among other information. A briefing was requested before July 25 and a public hearing is scheduled for Aug. 1.

Hawley is also demanding answers from BlackRock CEO Larry Fink requesting all records related to the assassination attempt after it became public that the alleged shooter appeared in one of BlackRock’s commercials.

What appears to be a clip of the commercial “has circulated widely on social media and raised the question about what your company knows about the shooter,” Hawley told Fink.

Fink is requested to provide the information by July 24.

When accepting his party’s nomination for president, Trump said at the Republican National Convention last week that surviving the assassination attempt was “a gift from God.” At a rally on Saturday, one week after the shooting, he said he “took a bullet for democracy.”

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Republican Senator Calls on Biden’s Immediate Resignation

A Tennessee Republican senator called for President Joe Biden to resign immediately after the 81-year-old dropped out of the presidential race early Sunday afternoon.

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn said Biden must resign as president.

"If Joe Biden is too weak to stay in the race for the presidency, he should RESIGN as our Commander-in-Chief immediately," she wrote in a post on X.

Democrats praised Biden's work in office.

"President Biden has been an extraordinary, history-making president – a leader who has fought hard for working people and delivered astonishing results for all Americans," California Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote. "He will go down in history as one of the most impactful and selfless presidents."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said the first debate between former President Trump and Biden was the catalyst.

"It looks more and more like that very early debate was a set-up to force Biden to step aside," Abbott wrote on X. "Today's announcement may not have happened without that disastrous debate."

President Joe Biden ended his reelection bid Sunday, opening the door for Vice President Kamala Harris or another top Democrat to replace him atop the ticket.

Tesla founder and X owner Elon Musk said the smart set was voting for Trump.

"My smartest friends, including those living in the San Francisco Bay Area who have been lifelong Dems, are excited about Trump/Vance," he wrote in a post on Sunday afternoon. "I believe in an America that maximizes individual freedom and merit. That used to be the Democratic Party, but now the pendulum has swung to the Republican Party."

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., said it had been an honor to work with Biden.

"I've been inspired by his decency, integrity and dedication to service, and I'm deeply grateful for that," she said in a statement. "Thank you, President Biden."

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Lara Trump: ‘Frightening’ Assassination Attempt a ‘Defining Moment’ for Country

Lara Trump, co-chair of the Republican National Committee and daughter-in-law of former President Donald Trump, appeared saddened but proud when recalling the "frightening" assassination attempt Saturday against her father-in-law at a campaign rally in Butler, Pa.

“There is no doubt that Saturday was one of the most frightening moments of my father-in-law’s life,” Lara Trump told the audience at Tuesday night's Republican National Convention. “Millimeters separated him from life and certain death. And yet, it was in the midst of it all, as he was jostled off stage by Secret Service, that he knew how defining that moment would be for our country, and he hoisted his fist in the air.”

The crowd erupted into chants of “fight, fight, fight!”

The assassination attempt on Trump, and a general belief among Republicans that a win for their candidate in November will refortify national security, dominated the topics discussed during the later portion of the Republican National Convention’s second night, themed “Make America Safe Again,” in Milwaukee, Wis.

Lara Trump, who is married to the GOP presidential nominee's son, Eric Trump, wrapped up convention night Tuesday as the keynote speaker.

“Last Saturday was a jarring reminder that we as Americans must always remember: there is more that unites us than divides us,” she said. “We all want this country to be great, even if we don't always agree on the best way of doing that. And with every bone in my body, I can tell you that all Donald Trump wants to do, and has ever wanted to do, is make this country great again for all of us.”

She referenced Trump’s presidential record of tax cuts, energy independence, unemployment rates, prison reform, border security, peace agreements in the Middle East, and the creation of the U.S. Space Force as proof that a second Trump administration would benefit American peace and prosperity.

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who was on the shortlist for Trump’s vice-presidential candidate picks, spoke just before Lara Trump Tuesday night, and argued there is nothing divisive about Trump’s America-first agenda, and nothing dangerous about Trump’s supporters, as Democrats maintain.

“What they ask for is not hateful or extreme,” Rubio said of Trump's supporters. “What they want is good jobs and lower prices. They want borders that are secure, and for those who come here to do so legally. They want to be safe from criminals and from terrorists. And they want our leaders to care more about our problems here at home than about the problems of other countries far away.”

Dr. Ben Carson, the 17th U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the Trump administration, talked briefly as well, noting how the assassination attempt put the stakes of the election into perspective.

“These events brought unusual clarity to the times we are living in. We have all harbored the nagging feeling that everything we love is slipping away,” said Carson. “This is a man who is a gift to us as a nation.”

The night concluded with speakers calling for unity, for votes, and for grit.

“We must stand up, and we must fight,” Rubio said. “Fight not with violence or destruction, but with our voices and our votes. Fight not against each other, but for the hopes and dreams we share in common and make us one. And fight for an America where we are safe from those who seek to harm us on our streets, and from abroad.”

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Secret Service Says Sloped Roof Was Unsafe for Snipers

The sloped roof where a would-be assassin took aim at former President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in western Pennsylvania wasn’t safe enough for snipers.

This is a reason for not posting someone there, U.S. Secret Service Director Kim Cheatle said in an interview with ABC News on Tuesday.

“That building, in particular, has a sloped roof at its highest point,” she said. “And so, you know, there’s a safety factor that would be considered there that we wouldn’t want to put somebody up on a sloped roof.”

“And so, you know, the decision was made to secure the building, from inside,” Cheatle added.

The comment comes three days after 20-year-old Thomas Crooks opened fire on a crowd in Butler, Pa., less than 15 minutes after Trump took the stage, striking him in the ear. Trump was wounded but has continued his schedule, arriving in Milwaukee, Wis., on Sunday for the Republican National Convention and appearing in the main arena Monday night.

Since then, authorities – namely the Secret Service – have faced tough questions about the apparent security lapses that allowed the gunman to scale the roof 147 yards from the stage at the Butler Farm Show Grounds.

Eyewitnesses can be seen on video shouting for police to intervene as they watched Crooks belly crawl into position. Law enforcement was also stationed inside the building.

In a separate report from NBC News, a local official said a Butler Township police officer was boosted to the roof of the building, where he grabbed onto a ledge and saw Crooks, who then turned his rifle toward the officer. Unable to grab his weapon or radio, the officer dropped eight feet to the ground, injuring his ankle.

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Arrest Made After Derrick Van Orden Says He Was Assaulted at RNC

(The Center Square) – Western Wisconsin’s congressman says he was assaulted at Milwaukee’s Republican National Convention, but a women’s group disagrees.

Republican Congressman Derrick Van Orden took social media Tuesday to say a protester with the group Code Pink assaulted him while he was standing in line at the RNC.

“While standing in line to enter an event at the RNC today, I was assaulted by what appeared to be a member of the pro-Hamas group CODEPINK. A nearby police officer witnessed this assault and I understand they have been arrested,” Van Orden said. “This appears to be an incident of political violence and I will never tolerate this. Regardless of the severity of the violence, political violence is political violence.”

Code Pink almost immediately said Van Orden was the one who bumped into who they called a “visibly Palestinian” woman.

“CODEPINK's Palestine Organizer Nour [Jaghama] has been unjustly arrested at the RNC after a congressman shoved past her and had her arrested on false charges of ‘assault,’” Code Pink said in a tweet of its own.

Milwaukee Police questioned Jaghama, then were later seen taking her away.

The department says the incident is “under investigation.”

Van Orden said the incident is just the latest example of violence from the Left.

“Republicans have been intimidated and targeted for years, including the attempted assassination of President Trump and we will no longer standby and allow lawlessness,” he said. “There is no place for political violence in this country and I have repeatedly called for people who choose this path to be prosecuted to the greatest extent of the law.”

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday that charges in the case are “under review.”

Van Orden was in line for an event at the Pfister Hotel at the time. It’s not clear if the Code Pink protester was going to the same event or was just standing in line.

Van Orden has been a target for protesters. He is in the middle of a race for his second term in Congress for Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District. He has a history of confrontations. It was July of last year when Van Orden was accused of yelling at a group of Capitol Hill interns who were taking pictures and videos inside the Capitol Rotunda.

He defended his actions by saying the Capitol Dome is hallowed-ground, and needs to be treated with respect.

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