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Campaign volunteer recants assault allegations

Published On: Oct 29 2012 06:59:56 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 30 2012 05:05:45 PM CDT

Eight days before the election, a volunteer for a Wisconsin congressional campaign has recanted allegations that he was attacked at his home last week for being a gay Republican.

Kyle Wood, who was a volunteer for Chad Lee's campaign in the 2nd District, could face criminal charges.

Madison police were investigating an assault that Wood claimed was politically motivated. On Monday, police said the report, at least partly, was fabricated.

Wood, 29, told Madison police that he was attacked last week inside his home in the 900 block of High St., near St. Mary's Hospital.

Last week, Wood told WISC-TV that he was attacked for political reasons. He said his face was smashed into a mirror and he was choked with something around his neck.

Wood said he is an openly gay Republican volunteering with a Republican campaign and that his attacker made comments to the effect that he was a political traitor.

Lee's opponent in the congressional race is Democrat Mark Pocan, who is openly gay.

Madison police said Monday that the attack didn't happen as first reported and that Wood recanted his story.

Wood shared his original allegations with the Daily Caller and other conservative media outlets. Over the weekend, Wood spoke with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but he hasn't done any other interviews with mainstream news organizations and none with TV stations.

WISC-TV had a scheduled interview with Wood on Monday afternoon to talk about the alleged attack, but after Wood met with Madison police Monday, he never returned WISC-TV's calls.

Also on Monday, the conservative group Media Trackers published a story alleging Pocan's partner sent threatening and harassing text messages to Wood.

Pocan's campaign said that never happened.

The article -- which was taken down from the Media Trackers website at about 4:30 p.m. Monday -- published back-and-forth texts purported to be between Wood and a person Wood said he assumed was Pocan's partner.

The texts contained sexual and explicit language and some threatening words.

Wood said he didn't recognize the phone number but believed the texts were from Pocan's partner. Wood told WISC-TV that someone with Lee's campaign released the texts to Media Trackers without his knowledge.

But the Lee campaign said it never had the text transcripts. The Lee campaign said it knew about the alleged text messages but said that Wood had them in his possession.

In a statement Monday from Pocan's campaign, a spokesman said the allegations are completely false and the text messages are fabricated. 

Pocan campaign manager Dan McNally on Tuesday released a statement regarding the falsified allegations.

"We hope that those who are responsible for the recent events are quickly brought to justice. We are keeping every option open on legal actions towards organizations and individuals that perpetrated this lie," McNally said in the statement.

Madison police said Monday that the attack case has been cleared, and they are working on a follow-up investigation into Wood's original allegations.

Police said the case will be reviewed by the Dane County District Attorney's Office, which will decide whether to file criminal charges of filing a false police report against Wood. 

Lee's campaign said in a statement Monday that it has dismissed Wood from the campaign. 

"Today, our campaign unfortunately learned that a deeply troubled volunteer misled police, news outlets and our own team in regards to events that he alleged to have occurred. Our campaign dismissed Mr. Wood immediately and we will fully cooperate with the authorities as they continue with their investigation," Lee's campaign said in a statement. 

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