In Zane Seipler’s Federal wrongful termination suit, Sheriff Keith Nygren’s attorney, James Sotos, is attempting to gain dismissal because of the posting of confidential case documents from Zane’s home computer.
His reasoning is that Seipler deliberately released documents (see them here) that were labeled “Confidential.”
The smoking gun from Sotos’s viewpoint was information subpoenaed from Google that the computer from which Zane Seipler’s self-identified blog, McHenry County Sheriff’s Department Exposed, was the same one used for the Shadow Deputy blog and one with almost the same title as Zane’s, The Real McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Exposed.
Seipler vehemently denied that he had posted to confidential documents.
Stated several times in several different ways, the message was the same:
“All I know is that I didn’t give anything out…I did not give out the documents to either web site.”
The story that emerged Tuesday in Rockford was that, unbeknownst to Seipler, his wife Rose, put up the other two blogs shortly after Kurt Milliman, former Deputy Sheriff Scott Milliman’s twin brother was shot to death.
Zane’s attorney asked his reaction to Kurt Milliman’s murder.
“I was afraid for a lot of people’s lives, mine included.”
Although Zane had told his wife not to involved herself in the case, she apparently did so in an attempt to protect her family.
Zane did not discover his wife’s involvement until after a second week of August, 2011, phone discussion with his attorney Blake Horwitz, which was overheard by Rose.
“It was heated and about this stuff and he’s asking me how this is possible and I’m saying I don’t know,” Zane testified.
“She approached me about it after hearing me and my lawyer arguing over the phone about how it got on the internet,” Zane testified.
“She was crying. She told me she had done it.”
“Why the hell did you do that?” Zane reported asking his wife.
“That the case could be dismissed?” Sotos asked.
“That’s something she could understand,” Zane replied.
He later explained that Rose was “extremely remorseful.”
Zane pointed out that he had previously “told her several times over the years not to comment on the newspaper or the blogs about the case,” but she did so anyway.
“That was the first time you talked to anyone but your lawyer?” Sotos asked.
“Yeah,” Zane replied.
He explained why he thought his wife has put up the secret information on the internet.
“She wanted to show what these people were all about…We’ve spent years being concerned about somebody’s getting killed…when you’ve heard that Sheriff Nygren said, ‘Kill Dave Bachmann,’ pushing Judge [Conrad] Floeter under the train.”
Rose was apparently following her husband’s example.
His wife told him, “You told me the only reason we’re safe is that you’re out there saying stuff,” referring to at least his blog, which he took down after the June sanctions motion was filed by Sotos.
“If I am known by people and they know there’s a fight going on, everyone will know where to look [if something happens to me or my family],” Zane explained.
Later Zane elaborated on his strategy:
“I can’t just disappear without [people knowing where to look]. It’s not the best protection in the world, but it’s all we’ve got.”
Sotos wanted to know when he had told Rose that.
“A long time ago.”
Coming back again, Sotos got this reply from Zane:
“You’ve got to remember she was crying. We were fighting.
“She didn’t want me to have any part of it. She didn’t want me to be involved.”
During Zane’s Republican 2010 primary campaign for Sheriff against Nygren [disclosure--I supported Zane in my precinct],
“He told me when I went to the Northwest Herald in the lobby [before the interview], ‘Go get good life insurance.'”
Sotos pressed on why Zane had not investigated the appearance of the secret documents after they appeared on the internet.
“Just because you guys write it (in the sanctions motion) doesn’t make it legit,” Zane replied.
As Sotos tried to get Zane to explain why he didn’t probe who had had posted the confidential personnel documents on the internet, Zane pretty much repeated his former answer,
“In all honestly I did not know it did not come from you guys. I knew it wasn’t me.”
Sotos pressed further about Zane’s two-month delay in trying to find out who had posted the confidential documents.
“I also thought it was a Greg Pyle thing with his super computer [talents].”
Whether Zane had told his attorney Blake Horwitz took up a lot of time.
“I had not told him” was but one way the question was answered by Zane. And, “I never specifically told him that Rose did it.”
“I told my lawyer, ‘I think I need to get my wife an attorney.’
“My attorney specifically told me not to tell [him] anymore.”
Asked by his attorney, “Why didn’t you tell me?” Zane replied, “Because I do understand there’s a privilege (between wife and husband) and, secondly, I was scared for her.”
Zane related having been “accused of felonies before by the Sheriff’s Department and this attorney [referring to Sotos]. I figured this would be a criminal issue.”
And that “Rose’s interests were not a concern of yours. As an officer of the court you were going to have to do your job.”
Horwitz could and did speak for himself.
He knew that there were only three adults regularly in the home, Zane, Rose and babysitter Eileen Marhoefer.
“Did you think I understood, my having a brain, I couldn’t figure it out?” Horwitz asserted in a rhetorical question.
There were extensive discussions about the extent of attorney-client privilege during the 9:30 to 5:15 hearing with the Judge Frederick Kapala explaining that the privilege was the client’s and could be waive in part or in whole.
Sotos used comments on Zane’s official blog to suggest that Zane was threatening to release the confidential court records.
Prime focus was on a December 2, 2010, paragraph posted after the Thanksgiving Week deposition of Deputy Sheriff Kurt Milliman:
“If the time comes that I feel my life, my family’s lives or any one’s life is in danger because of Nygren, I will send what I have directly to the Media. (And I’m not talking about those hack newspapers here in McHenry County.)”
Another of Zane’s blog posts elicited this explanation:
“I had just heard [Scott] Milliman’s deposition the read the Northwest Herald article about it when I posted this. I was very afraid for my life. I had been down to Mexico…We sat there [in Milliman's deposition] discussing murder, drugs, illegal immigrants…the kind of things people get killed for.”
Sotos asked if there were any other reason “to think your life might be in danger.”
“Yes,” Zane replied. “I have a Special Prosecutor going on with regard to [Nygren's using his office for] for campaigning.”
Milliman’s deposition had a major impact on Zane. While discussing the people he had been asked to kill, “he [Milliman] started crying a couple of times,” Zane said.
“When he testified, he was terrified. His brother gets killed six months later.”
Pretty much the same litany of alleged crimes by Sheriff Nygren, as stated by former Deputy Scott Milliman in his deposition, came up Tuesday as came up in the last hearing before McHenry County Associate Judge Thomas Meyer in the Special Prosecutor case.
Shortly after the deposition, Scott Milliman was put on administrative leave for not telling the truth, among other stated reasons. Later he was fired for violating a “truthfulness” requirement of the Departmental General Orders.
The leak of the Scott Milliman confidential deposition to the Northwest Herald came up for discussion, as did a confidential Woodstock Police report that was distributed in the Sheriff’s Department prior to the February, 2010, GOP primary election.
The Pavlin case was revealed as the topic of several Zane blog posts which hinted at information that he knew that his readers did not. Zane revealed he gave Grand Jury testimony and saw the deputies involved write their reports together.
Judge Kapala tried the Pavlin case and reached this decision.
Rose’s attorney Dennis Giovannini was in the courtroom during part of the session.
Kurt Milliman’s murder took place down the road from Centegra’s Woodstock Hospital and the Sheriff’s Department investigation found no involvement beyond the man charged with shooting him and the man’s wife, whom, as the official story goes, had offered oral sex in a Craig’s List ad that Kurt Milliman had answered.
There was some heretofore unreported information about contacts Zane received from policemen in other municipalities seeking advice on how to publicize racial profiling and civil rights violations as Zane had.
Those calls came from policemen in
- Blue Island
Also appearing in court today was McHenry County Sheriff’s Sergeant Greg Pyle.
Prior to his brief appearance, his attorney William McCarthy argued that notice had been inadequate, pointing out that personal service had not been made until he appeared in court on his McHenry County criminal charges last Friday.
Although McCarthy pointed out that Pyle would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against the possibility of self-incrimination, Judge Kapala ruled that the letter mailed to his parents’ home, plus the personal service was adequate.
Pyle asserted his right against potential self-incrimination on all questions, although, the Judge did allow him to explain his service in the Sheriff’s Department
Questions from Horwitz that went unanswered included his computer training and expertise.
Cooling their heels outside the courtroom all day were future witnesses Rose Seipler, Scott Milliman and John Nelson.
McHenry County Sheriff’s Department Affirmative Action Officer, Donald Leist, was in the courtroom.
The next hearing is at 9:30 on May 23th.
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Articles explaining the dueling sanctions motions:
- Sheriff Seeks Sanctions for Privacy Violations, While Violating Privacy Order or “Do As I Say, Not As I Do”
- Point, Counter Point – Sotos, Horwitz Both Request Sanctions – Part 1
- Point, Counter Point – Sotos, Horwitz Both Request Sanctions – Part 2
- Point, Counter Point – Sotos, Horwitz Both Request Sanctions – Part 3
- Point, Counter Point – Sotos, Horwitz Both Request Sanctions – Part 4
- Point, Counter Point – Sotos, Horwitz Both Request Sanctions – Part 5
- Point, Counter Point – Sotos, Horwitz Both Request Sanctions – Part 6
Links to the articles containing the entire 10,000+ word transcript from December 15th, mainly about Sheriff Deputy Scott Milliman’s deposition, can be found at the links below: