City News

Two special prosecutors appointed to Cook case

A county judge has appointed two special prosecutors to take over the case of suspended UW-Madison student Alec Cook, whose preliminary trial is scheduled for Jan. 20.

Image By: Courtesy of Dane County Jail

A county judge has appointed two special prosecutors from the state attorney general's office to take over the case of suspended UW-Madison student Alec Cook, who faces numerous counts of sexual assault involving 10 different women.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colàs signed an order Thursday, in response to a letter of request by a deputy district attorney, naming state Assistant Attorneys General Audrey Skwierawski and Michelle Viste as prosecutors to serve against Cook, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Cook’s preliminary trial is set to take place Jan. 20, 2017.

The request for special prosecutors to stand in the trial came due to the high profile nature of Cook’s case, rather than any conflict of interest with the office, according to the letter.

The letter, sent by Dane County Deputy District Attorney Mary Ellen Karst, said the attorneys general would bring sophistication to Cook’s “high-profile multiple victim sexual assault” case, which has received national attention.

Skwierawski and Viste will assist the case’s leading prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Colette Sampson.

Skwierawski, who also serves as Wisconsin’s Violence Against Women resource prosecutor, has a background in sexual assault and stalking cases around the state, according to the attorney general office’s website.

Viste, assistant attorney general since 2015, pressed for increased bail at Cook’s Dec. 16 bail hearing, where a county judge cut monetary requirements in half to $100,000, allowing his parents to post bail that same day.

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