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Evers appoints commissioner to investigate Eau Claire Co. DA

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 1:34 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WEAU) - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has appointed a commissioner to investigate and conduct a hearing regarding charges brought against Eau Claire Co. District Attorney Gary King.

Evers has appointed William Ramsey to conduct the investigation into King. Ramsey is the deputy chief legal counsel at the Wisconsin Dept. of Administration.

Under Wisconsin law, the state’s governor can remove a district attorney for cause if written, verified charges are brought against the county’s DA by a resident taxpayer. Once the governor receives the charges, they can choose a commissioner to conduct a hearing on the charges, investigate, and report findings to the governor.

Two of King’s former colleagues wrote to Gov. Evers, asking for King’s removal from office. The first letter was written by former Eau Claire County Assistant District Attorney Loralee Clark, who is retired after working as a prosecutor for 33 years. She worked in the Eau Claire DA’s office from 2009 through July 2020. The second was from Ellen Anderson who worked in the DA’s office with King from 2011 through February 2020.

Gov. Evers received the charges on June 3.

In March, a third party investigator concluded King did make inappropriate comments to female staff members after one employee filed a complaint with the human resources department.

Former Dane County District Attorney Hal Harlowe will be representing King in the investigation by the Governor’s Office.

King continues to serve as DA as he is investigated by the office of Gov. Evers. King is accused of sexual harassment as well as being intoxicated at work.

According to DA Office Manager Eric Huse, King is currently taking voluntary leave. During the time he is away, his cases will be handled by assistant DAs.

King was first elected to the position of District Attorney in 2012. He ran unopposed and was re-elected last year. His current term runs through 2024.

In the past 25 years, only once has a sitting governor attempted to remove a District Attorney from office. In 2010, former Governor Jim Doyle initiated a process to remove former Calumet County DA Ken Kratz from office in the fall of 2010. Kratz resigned before that process could take place.

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