A gay volunteer for a Republican congressional campaign in Madison, Wis., retracted allegations that he was attacked for his sexual orientation and political views, opening himself to potential criminal charges for the false account.
Kyle Wood, a volunteer for Chad Lee, had said he was assaulted and choked at his home last Wednesday. Lee is running against Mark Pocan, the gay state assemblyman heavily favored to win the race for the seat being vacated by lesbian U.S. Senate hopeful Tammy Baldwin.
Wood met with detectives, and the Madison police department updated its incident report Monday to reflect that he had recanted his allegations, according to The Daily Page. The report now says the attack will be cleared as "unfounded."
Wood had described the attack as "terrifying" and told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "All of a sudden, there was something around my neck, so I couldn't breathe -- I mean, I could breathe enough to live, but I couldn't scream. All I could think about was getting it off my neck."
In addition to his false allegations about the attack, Wood had alleged that Pocan's partner, Philip Frank, sent him a series of threatening text messages in the days preceding the assault. Madison Police Capt. Joe Balles told The Daily Page that officials know the text messages "did not occur," and the Pocan campaign said the text messages were "fabricated."
The conservative website Media Trackers reported on the text messages, while the conservative website The Daily Caller reported on the attack and said it was punishment for Wood not supporting Pocan.
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A spokesman for Pocan and an attorney representing Frank said they were considering suing for libel or defamation. Wood could also face charges including obstructing police or filing a false police report after police confer with the Dane County District Attorney's Office, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
The Lee campaign issued a statement saying that Wood had been dismissed. The statement said "a deeply troubled volunteer misled police, news outlets and our own team in regards to events that he alleged."
Balles declined to disclose why Wood made false accusations that he later recanted about the attack, according to the State Journal. He said the explanation would emerge at some point.
Wood was arrested for threatening his former boyfriend with a butcher knife in 2008, the State Journal reported. He pleaded no contest and paid a $275 fine on a reduced charge.