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Sunday, June 16, 2024

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EXCLUSIVE: Janet Protasiewicz Used the ‘N Word’ Referring to Blacks in Children’s Court Cases, Witness Says [VIDEO]

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Attention media: You may use the audio and video recordings in this article. Please attribute to Wisconsin Right Now.  

Two people who knew Janet Protasiewicz – her former stepson AND a long-time self-described liberal family friend of her ex-husband – told Wisconsin Right Now in recorded interviews that they heard Protasiewicz use racial slurs when she was a prosecutor in Children’s Court. Both men, Jonathan Ehr and Michael Madden, told Wisconsin Right Now that they personally heard Protasiewicz use the “N word” to refer to blacks.

Madden, Protasiewicz’s then stepson, said in a videotaped interview that she used the “N word” to refer to blacks who were involved in court cases while she served as a prosecutor in Milwaukee County Children’s Court, including the parents of black children and blacks accused of crimes.

We asked Protasiewicz’s campaign for comment at 10 p.m. on March 15. She has not responded. She has not denied using racial slurs despite being given an opportunity to do so.

You can listen to and watch the recordings later in this story. Both men said they heard Protasiewicz use the racial slurs in 1997, when she was married to conservative Milwaukee County Judge Patrick Madden. She was 34 years old at the time and an assistant Milwaukee County District Attorney. Michael is Patrick’s son. Ehr and his attorney father knew the judge and his family for decades.

In a separate audio recorded interview without Michael Madden present, Ehr, a former Milwaukee restaurant/bar owner and self-described “liberal,” told Wisconsin Right Now that Protasiewicz used the “N word’ in front of him to refer to blacks and also used a racial slur to refer to Hispanics.

“I think it was the “N word” and then I thought she said, I could have sworn she said, beaner, or something, beaner,” he said.

Asked again if he ever heard Protasiewicz say a racial slur, Ehr said, “I did.” He added that he did not “know what they were talking about at the time” because it was so many years ago. “I was surprised, and I don’t even know what they were talking about,” he said.

Asked who he meant by “they,” Ehr said, “Janet and the judge were talking. And I remember, Judge, I never heard anything bad come out of that man. Seriously, he was a very, very nice guy.”

Asked again, he confirmed that he heard Protasiewicz say the “N word.” We contacted Ehr a second time on another day and asked him the same questions again. Again, he stated that he heard Protasiewicz use the “N word” when she was married to Judge Madden, that he never heard Judge Madden say it, and that he doesn’t remember the conversation’s context.

Jon ehr
Jon ehr.

Ehr said he didn’t remember the context surrounding the slurs because it was in 1997.

By “judge,” he was referring to Patrick J. Madden, who was Protasiewicz’s husband for less than a year in 1997 before the marriage crumbled into an ugly divorce battle. Madden, a now-deceased Navy veteran, was a Milwaukee County Judge for 24 years, and a respected member of the Milwaukee judiciary.

Madden, who was Protasiewicz’s stepson, told WRN in a separate videotaped interview that he heard Protasiewicz call blacks the “N word” who were part of cases that she handled in Milwaukee County Children’s Court as a prosecutor.

Specifically, he recalls her using the “N word” to refer to parents of black children in Children’s Court cases and also called them “lowlifes,” he said. At another point, he said she also referred to criminal defendants as the “N word.”

Protasiewicz’s unsuccessful application to be appointed a judge by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker confirms she was in Children’s Court at that time, and she was assigned there for 16 years. She handled very sensitive cases involving abused or neglected children and parents who were having their rights terminated, as well as sexual assault cases with juvenile perpetrators:

Janet protasiewicz used racial slurs
Page from janet protasiewicz’s judicial application.

Ehr, a family friend of the Maddens for decades and a former restaurant/bar owner in Milwaukee, told Wisconsin Right Now in the interview that he heard Protasiewicz use racial slurs during the time frame that she was married to Judge Madden.

Ehr told Wisconsin Right Now that he is a “liberal” and not a political person. In fact, he is so checked out of politics that he said he wasn’t even aware that Protasiewicz is running for state Supreme Court when we asked him.

Ehr, now 65, said his father was also friends with Judge Madden, then 70, who was married to Protasiewicz, then 34, for less than a year. Madden was a recent widower when he married Protasiewicz. We previously reported on Michael’s allegations that he witnessed Protasiewicz physically assault his father. Read that story here. Michael and his brother, Dr. Mark Madden, also said she was a pro-life, anti-immigrant conservative when they knew her, which is the polar opposite of what she is claiming to be now.

She has refused to respond to any of the allegations. She has not denied them despite being given a chance to do so.

“My dad and judge were in law school together back in the ’50s; my dad practiced law,” Ehr explained. “We all grew up together. We were all Catholics,” He said Michael was younger than him.

“I sat down many times with my father and Mike’s dad and talked and all that. They were good friends,” said Ehr, who used to run the Ardmore bar at Marquette’s campus.

Of Protasiewicz, he said, after we told him she was running for state Supreme Court, “Maybe she’s changed and cleaned up her life. I hope so, if she’s running for Supreme Court.”

Michael Madden said Protasiewicz would talk “about her experiences in Children’s Court.”

“Janet had a lot of views based on her experiences in Children’s Court that would tell me that she was far from a, you know, liberal in that matter,” he told WRN. “She felt that, you know, a lot of these kids were, you know, the victims of parents not watching them and there were too lenient of sentences; that she didn’t like a lot of that stuff when she was here at this house. She specifically said, she worked on a lot of inner-city cases. All these people were having all these kids.”

Madden said he heard Protasiewicz use racial slurs in such conversations around the dining room table in the Madden home. He said that drinking was involved. Asked which slur, he said, “I don’t really want to say it. It’s the one that everyone knows.”

We asked which letter the word starts with. “The same letter that starts the word, nose,” he said.

“I don’t want to say it,” he said.

We clarified, “You’re saying that Janet said the ‘N word’?”

“I heard her say it, yes,” he said.

Asked how many times, “I can’t give you a number; it was many years ago. It wasn’t once.” He said she used the racial slur “in discussions about certain cases she was working on and different items that went on.”

Michael Madden added, “There were some discussions about, you know, the drug wars and things like that and the type of criminal behavior that was going on in certain parts of the city.”

Asked again if he heard her use the “N word,” he said, “I heard her use it describing some of the cases she was handling at the courthouse.”

“Do you believe Janet made racist comments?” we asked.

“Yes,” Michael Madden said.

“What were those?” we asked.

“She used a descriptive word for African-Americans,” he said. “It’s something an educated and decent person wouldn’t use. The same letter that nose starts with.”

Madden said his dad was “offended” by the racial slurs he says Protasiewicz used. He never used that word himself, Michael said.

Stay tuned. We have two more stories coming in this series. If you appreciate Wisconsin Right Now’s work, please consider becoming a reoccurring member for even $10/a month to help fund our news coverage. You can do so here.

kamala harris most liberal

Voters Lack Confidence Kamala Harris Can Become President

Vice President Kamala Harris has a fight on her hands if she wants to inherit the Democratic presidential mantle after President Joe Biden’s time is over, according to a new poll.

The Politico/Morning Consult poll shows that voters have serious doubts about Harris’ electability.

The poll found only 14% of voters said it was “very likely” Harris would win a general election for president if she became the Democratic nominee. Another 20% said it was “somewhat likely.”

The poll is especially noteworthy given Biden's age. The incumbent president is 81 years old and appears increasingly in decline.

A moment of confusion for Biden at a June 6 D-Day ceremony went viral last week, the latest in a string of similar incidents. At the same time, Biden remains competitive with former President Donald Trump, though several polls suggest Trump has a lead over the president.

Biden's incidents have led some to speculate that Democrats could or should try to replace Biden at the Democratic convention in Chicago in August. That would be a highly unusual, though not impossible, move. Removing Biden would naturally raise the question about who could replace him, but for now voters seem to lack confidence that Harris could win.

The poll also looked ahead to 2028: “If President Joe Biden were not in the running for president in 2028, which of the following Democrats, if any, would you want to be the Democratic candidate for president?”

While Harris was top of the list among Democrats, she only received 21% support. California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg both received 10% support each, while 41% said they were unsure or didn't know.

Only 42% of those polled described Harris as trustworthy, and 44% described her as honest, according to the poll.

Notably, only 36% of those surveyed said Biden should replace Harris as his VP on the ticket.

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GOP Lawmakers Want Legislative Auditors to Review MPS Finances

(The Center Square) – Republicans at the Wisconsin Capitol don’t want Gov. Tony Evers to waste the chance to get a good look at Milwaukee Public Schools’ shortcomings.

Evers recently called for an operational and an instructional audit of MPS.

“I’m proposing today to go two steps further with two important goals: the first, to audit MPS’ programs and operations in their entirety, and the second, to audit the effectiveness of teaching and instruction of our kids in classrooms across the district,” Evers said.

The governor, however, wants to keep the audit within his administration and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said that’d be a mistake.

“I’m glad that Gov. Evers has called for an audit of the Milwaukee Public School System. Gov. Evers and DPI should work with Joint Legislative Audit Committee Co-Chairs [Eric] Wimberger and [Robert] Wittke to discuss authorizing the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau to audit MPS, DPI and any other involved stakeholders,” LeMahieu said. “The LAB is more than capable of handling this important undertaking independently and transparently without the use of outside contractors.”

The worry is an audit controlled by the governor’s office will not fully look into MPS’s shortcomings.

The calls for audits in Milwaukee Public Schools come after the state withheld nearly $17 million last week because of incomplete and late financial reports. One of those reports was due to the Department of Public Instruction in September 2023.

Evers has asked MPS leaders to be a part of any audit process but warned that not everyone will be invited.

“I also have to say – I’m exceedingly disappointed by the politicking and jockeying I’ve seen since this situation came to light by opportunists who’re seizing this moment to serve their own selfish goals instead of worrying about what matters most: our kids,” Evers added.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos took to social media to accuse the governor of being the one who is playing politics.

“And who do you think [Evers] will suggest conducts the audits?” Vos asked. “The same failed DPI bureaucrats who allowed this to happen or his administration who wanted to dismantle the school choice system so all kids were forced into this MPS mess? We need real reforms to the current mentality where MPS has been protecting the bureaucracy and Gov. Evers has been advocating for shoveling hundreds of millions of dollars into this broken system.”

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Biden’s New Staffing Requirements Put Most Illinois Nursing Homes in Peril

An industry group says the Biden administration’s new staffing regulations for long-term care facilities are unrealistic.

The mandate requires that all nursing homes that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding provide a total of at least 3.48 hours of nursing care per resident per day. Plus, nursing homes must have a registered nurse onsite at all times.

Research by SeniorLiving.org shows 82%, or nearly 12,000 facilities in the U.S., will need to hire staff or face being shut down.

Spokesperson Corie Wagner said Illinois is home to the fifth highest number of understaffed nursing homes in the country.

“If we were to apply the new policies and new standards to nursing homes in Illinois today, 84% of facilities would need more staff, and that is really significant,” said Wagner.

The mandate will be phased in over three years, with rural communities having up to five years.

Nursing home operators strongly objected to the minimum staffing proposal in September, saying they already struggle to fill open positions.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in September announced a $75 million campaign to increase the number of nurses in nursing homes.

Nearly 1.2 million residents live in Medicare- and Medicaid-certified, long-term care facilities, but Wagner said that number is expected to increase.

“It’s called the Silver Tsunami, so more Americans are aged 65 or older than ever,” said Wagner. “It's one of the largest segments of our population but the infrastructure we have is not keeping up with our population shift.”

A resolution aimed at overturning Biden’s nursing home staffing mandate has a legitimate chance to pass the U.S. Senate.

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