MILWAUKEE, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Kelly Rindfleisch pleaded guilty to felony misconduct for doing campaign work on county time when she was an aide to Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
Rindfleisch -- who was deputy chief of staff to Walker in 2010 when he was Milwaukee County executive and a candidate for governor -- had been scheduled to go to trial next week on four felony misconduct counts. She was accused of making calls and sending emails on behalf of Brett Davis' campaign for lieutenant governor and contacting Walker campaign personnel, while at work and on the county payroll.
Circuit Court Judge David Hansher refused Rindfleisch's request Thursday that she be permitted to plead no contest, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The guilty plea means Rindfleisch could be sent to prison for as long as 3 1/2 years and fined $10,000 when she is sentenced Nov. 19, but prosecutors said they would recommend probation and jail time, the newspaper said. The plea agreement does not stipulate that she will cooperate with prosecutors, but her lawyer said she may be called as a witness in the criminal trial of Timothy Russell, a former Walker deputy chief of staff who has been charged with embezzling from a fund intended to benefit veterans.
Darlene Wink, a county employee when Walker was county executive, previously agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges of using public resources to raise funds for a political campaign. Wink faces a fine and a year in jail, and her plea agreement allows her to avoid time in jail.
Walker, who retained a defense attorney in February and started a legal defense fund in March, had been on a list of prosecution witnesses for Rindfleisch's trial.