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Judge: Lancour has right to see report of investigation into Superior arrest

This image from a Superior police squad dashboard camera shows officer George Gothner struggling while trying to arrest Natasha Lancour outside the Keyport Liquor and Lounge on Jan. 5. (Superior Police Department photo)

Natasha Lancour and her attorney are entitled to the results of a Wisconsin Department of Justice investigation into the actions of the officer who arrested her, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The district attorney's office must turn over the report by 4 p.m. Friday so Lancour, 28, and attorney Rick Gondik can prepare for a March 25 trial date. The order came against the objections of District Attorney Dan Blank, who argued that the report should be withheld while the Bayfield County District Attorney's Office reviews the case.

Lancour is facing misdemeanor charges of resisting or obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct after a fight in the parking lot outside the Keyport Liquor and Lounge on Jan. 5.

Douglas County Circuit Court Judge Kelly Thimm set the new trial date in response to a demand for a speedy trial from Gondik.

Blank advised the court that he would prefer the information be withheld until the middle of next week to give Bayfield County District Attorney Fred Bourg an opportunity to review the case before the information, which remains under investigation, is released.

Thimm signed the order for a special prosecutor to consider allegations against Superior police officer George Gothner during Wednesday's hearing; however, the judge upheld Lancour's right to defend herself on the charges she is facing.

"This isn't about some attorney weighing some other case," Thimm said. "This is about Ms. Lancour's rights."

Gondik requested earlier release because he's planning a trip and will be out of the office Friday, but he accepted the judge's determination that it is reasonable to make sure Bourg has the case before it is released

The investigation looks into Gothner's actions during Lancour's arrest Jan. 5.

Blank said he decided to turn the Gothner case over to a special prosecutor because the case hits a little too close to home.

"If I don't issue charges, I get accused of protecting someone I work with," Blank said.

Lancour said she's relieved to have a trial date set in the case.

It's a case Gondik said he can defend in "five minutes" by showing the jury video of the Jan. 5 arrest.

"If a picture is worth 1,000 words, how many words is a video worth?" Gondik asked.