MILWAUKEE (AP) — A former aide to Republican Gov. Scott Walker from when he was the Milwaukee County executive pleaded not guilty Tuesday to four charges alleging that she campaigned for political candidates during her publicly-paid office hours.
Kelly M. Rindfleisch, Walker's deputy chief of staff in Milwaukee County, pleaded not guilty to four felony counts of misconduct in public office, which carry a maximum combined penalty of six years in prison.
Defense attorney Franklyn Gimbel entered the pleas on her behalf, and the judge set a March 30 hearing to discuss a change-of-venue motion.
Rindfleisch is one of five Walker associates facing charges in a secret investigation. Another former aide, Darlene Wink has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of political solicitation by a public employee.
It is illegal for public workers, while engaged in their official duties, to raise funds or otherwise work on political campaigns or use their public workspaces to do so.
Franklyn Gimbel is seeking to move the proceedings to Columbia County because Rindfleisch lives in Columbus.
"I believe my client's interests will be better represented in her home county," he told reporters after the five-minute hearing.
Gimbel has also sought to have the charges dismissed, saying some of the allegations in the criminal complaint against Rindfleisch were based on statements she made to investigators under the promise of immunity.
Two other former Walker associates were charged in January with embezzling more than $60,000 from veterans and their families. Another man is charged with child enticement, evidence of which was allegedly discovered during the investigation of one of the others.
Walker hasn't been charged with wrongdoing but he has set up a legal defense fund, a move allowed only for officeholders who have been charged or are under investigation for election or campaign violations.
The Republican governor has repeatedly declined to say whether he has met with the Milwaukee County district attorney about the secret investigation. Walker has previously said the district attorney's office wanted to meet with him, but that it was a voluntary meeting and that he hadn't been ordered to testify.
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