Wisconsin Supreme Court prohibits transcript of Darrell Brooks’s bail hearing from being made public

The Wisconsin supreme court on Thursday said it could no longer see the court transcript of a bail hearing for Darrell Brooks, in the case that spawned the #MeToo backlash.

In July, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm filed a criminal complaint against the 54-year-old after allegations emerged that Brooks molested a woman’s teenage daughter over the course of 10 years, beginning when she was 14 years old.

Following the allegations and a request for records from local police department, BuzzFeed News requested a copy of the transcript of Brooks’s June 27 bail hearing to which the court replied, “Your request for a transcript of this hearing must be granted on a permissive basis.”

Though the transcript eventually was available to BuzzFeed News, a Minnesota Court Records Services worker said that the office was “no longer able to view it” and later identified it as potentially harmful to Brooks. The Workers said it was “embarrassing” because “it was clearly the ultimate story of our actions” and “he would be quoted extensively.”

In a statement released after the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision, Milwaukee County Clerk of Court Donald M. Van Amburg said “the court’s decision will not impact the court’s regular ability to provide transcripts of court proceedings to the news media in the future,” and cited the numerous citations “of the defendant in this case for previously violating a court order in Wisconsin and Minnesota.”

Chisholm had requested the clerk provide a transcript of the hearing to the prosecutor, Wisconsin County District Attorney John Chisholm, Chisholm’s office said Thursday.

Chisholm’s office said earlier in July that the prosecutor was “obviously troubled” about Brooks’s alleged wrongdoing and “although this is the first time such a situation arose in his tenure as DA, we have been concerned about the man’s repeated pattern of violence and criminal activity.”

The release noted that Brooks “was a habitual sex offender,” and had “violated three parole orders issued by the States of Wisconsin, two of which were made over a 17-year period. He was on active parole at the time he pled not guilty.”

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa in the Central District of Wisconsin issued an emergency order blocking convictions of Brooks for violating parole after the Wisconsin court issued a gag order following a post on Twitter about the case, which ignited a firestorm of attention online.

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