Libertarian Party Congressional nominee Kevin Barrett said Tuesday that charges he struck his teenage son are "completely, 100 percent false" and the complaint stems from an extortion attempt by his wife.
His campaign spokesman gives a different story, asserting the wife was trying to draw news media attention to Barrett's campaign.
Barrett left voice mail and e-mail messages for the BNR to give his side of the story after being charged with disorderly conduct last week in Sauk County Circuit Court. According to court documents, his wife told a Sauk County Sheriff's Department investigator Barrett struck their 13-year-old son on the back the morning of the primary, Sept. 9, after being disturbed by the boy talking while he was trying to sleep.
The county prosecutor has charged Barrett with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, punishable by up to 90 days in jail. Barrett's wife also was granted a temporary restraining order against him.
In a voice mail message Tuesday morning, Barrett said his wife hates his political activity and his family is under stress due to threats and smears he receives because of his efforts to debunk the official story of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Her actions are based on trying to force him to leave politics and also grew from an effort to extract money from him, he said.
"This is a case where she threatened to have me arrested if I didn't arrange for my family to give her a large sum of money," Barrett said. "I thought that was ridiculous."
In an e-mailed statement, he asserts his wife concocted a false story and enlisted their son in telling it.
Barrett said he has no previous criminal convictions, but his wife has faced abuse charges twice.
A review of Wisconsin's online court records finds two misdemeanor criminal counts of disorderly conduct filed in 2005 and 2006 against Barrett's wife. One involved incidents with Barrett and another involved a third person.
Details of those charges were not available Tuesday, but the court ordered her not to threaten or use violence against her husband and to stay away from the third person and the Hilldale Mall in Madison, court records show.
In 2005, Barrett's wife also petitioned for domestic abuse and child abuse restraining orders against Barrett, court records show.
Barrett congressional campaign spokesman Rolf Lindgren describes the charges as "some sort of bizarre publicity stunt cooked up by Dr. Barrett's wife," in an e-mailed statement to the media. "She was hoping the accusations would make the news on Tuesday, Sept. 11, the 7th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that killed 3,000 people," he wrote.
In a phone conversation Tuesday afternoon, Lindgren admitted his statement about Barrett's wife's motivations was not founded on anything she said. Rather, it was based on the timing after Barrett won the primary election, that he knows Barrett has never committed violence and from knowing Barrett's family, including his father, brother and uncle.
"That's my opinion of what happened," he said.
A message left for Barrett's wife at their rural Spring Green home was not returned by press time Tuesday night. Repeated attempts to speak with Barrett on his cell phone were not successful.