Kenosha Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Smathers had only been a prosecutor in Kenosha for nine months when she wrote a scathing email on May 9, 2022. This email went to an administrator at Aurora Health Care and was sent to complain about a sexual assault nurse who testifies often in court for the State. We will call her Betty. She begins the letter with “I should note that I have not personally worked with [Betty].” She then makes a series of very serious accusations about Betty. She started by questioning her nursing license, saying “First, it is my understanding she was not a registered nurse when she began her career as a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) and was not a registered nurse for some time. This obviously caused credibility concerns at trial.” She then went on to document cases in which Smathers says that Betty gave bad information in court that resulted in a person being found not guilty. Smathers also complained to Aurora that Betty claimed to be a Facebook friend with a member of the DA’s office, but “she was not.” She then accused Betty of violating a patient’s HIPPA rights during a case which led to a mistrial. Finally, Smathers complained about Betty wearing clothing to court that was too tight and wearing too much makeup.
She then ends the letter by saying that other employees of the DA’s office could corroborate her statements – ADA’s T. Clair Binger and James Kraus, the two prosecutors who were nationally embarrassed trying Kyle Rittenhouse and failing.
Aurora Fired Betty, who was the Forensic Program Nursing Supervisor at the time, two weeks after they received this email. She earned about $106,000 and had been with Aurora for almost eight years.
Betty’s Lawyer Responds
Betty hired a lawyer and he served notice on the DA’s office that Betty intends to sue them and seek a quarter of a million dollars plus punitive damages. In the letter, the attorney says that his client Betty “categorically denies the statements made in the May 9, 2022 email. Smather’s email was made with no firsthand knowledge of my client…..Ms. Smathers acknowledges as much in the first paragraph of her email… It is deeply disturbing that a public official would write such an email without any knowledge or investigation of the facts.” He says the statement about Betty “not being a nurse” and “not being a SANE nurse” are “patently false and can be confirmed by a thirty second search on the website for the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.” It took this author about 45 seconds to verify that Betty has been a licensed nurse since 3/8/2006 and her license needs to be renewed by 2/29/2024. Betty’s lawyer also denied the she violated HIPPA and said that the defendant that Smathers said was found “not guilty” was actually convicted and also easily verifiable on the Wisconsin Court Website (CCAP). “Given the nature of [Betty’s] employment and profession, allegations regarding her nursing credentials or concerning patient confidentiality were considered extremely serious by her employer. Ms. Smathers should know the weight and seriousness of such allegations. To author an email to [Betty’s] employer without exercising basic fact checking or without having any firsthand interaction with [Betty] is incredibly unprofessional and reckless. ADA Smathers should know better.” He also called the complaint about the clothing and makeup “petty” saying that she has never received any complaints in her 16-year career.
He ends the letter with:
“As a licensed attorney and representative of the County of Kenosha, the District Attorney’s office, Ms. Smathers should be fully aware of the need to investigate any and all claims and present a tempered, level-headed analysis of any situation. More than others, attorneys placed in the public’s trust, such as Ms. Smathers, should know of the ramifications of their actions. When Ms. Smathers wrote her email, she wrote an email not just on behalf of herself, but as an agent of the Kenosha District Attorney’s Office and government employee. Her words were given great effect by [Betty’s] employer – understandably so. And her untrue statements have now greatly harmed [Betty] who has been involuntarily separated from her employment. She has placed [Betty’s] career in jeopardy. As a result of Ms. Smather’s actions, Betty has legal causes of action for defamation, section 1983 deprivation of rights, tortious interference with contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and civil conspiracy.”
KCE reached out to Advocate Aurora and spoke with Cheri Mantz, Regional Communications Manager, and she provided KCE with the following statement:
“Forensic nurses provide invaluable services to survivors of sexual assault and are held to the highest standards of professional conduct. When there are allegations of misconduct, we initiate a thorough internal review and take action as appropriate. Out of respect for privacy, we do not comment on personnel matters.”
KCE also reached out to Smathers, who ignored our communication. Smathers became a lawyer in 2013 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She worked briefly as a prosecutor for Columbia County, WI and then for the Sheboygan County DA’s office for almost eight years where she was promoted to Deputy DA in 2020 but then was demoted in 2021 according to her Linkedin. She was then hired by DA Michael Graveley in August of 2021. T. Clair and Kraus also didn’t return our communications. DA Mike Graveley was not available to talk this week but we will follow up with him at a later date.