By DINESH RAMDE
MILWAUKEE (AP) – A judge on Tuesday granted a second postponement in the sentencing of a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker when he was the Milwaukee County executive, a move designed to ensure her continued cooperation in related investigations.
Darlene J. Wink pleaded guilty in February to two misdemeanor charges of working on Walker’s gubernatorial campaign on county time. As part of the plea deal, she agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in investigations of other associates close to Walker.
Her initial sentencing hearing in May was pushed back two months after prosecutors said the other investigations were ongoing. On Tuesday, assistant district attorney Bruce Landgraf said Wink’s cooperation was still required in two investigations.
Landgraf asked that Wink’s sentencing be delayed another four months, to Nov. 21. Wink’s attorney, Peter Wolff, didn’t object, but urged the judge to set a firm date for his client’s sentencing so she could finally achieve closure and move on with her life.
Judge Daniel Konkol approved the rescheduled date.
The charges against Wink grew out of a wide-ranging secret investigation into activity in Walker’s office. Wink is one of six people charged in the so-called John Doe investigation and the only one who has been convicted. She admitted that she helped coordinate fundraising events for Walker’s 2010 run for governor while she was supposed to be doing her job as a constituent-services coordinator.
The investigation has resulted in charges against five other Walker aides and associates, on allegations ranging from embezzlement to campaigning on county time. Walker has not been charged, and his campaign has said he’s not a target of the investigation.
Landgraf said Wink’s cooperation was needed in two cases. One involves Timothy Russell, another former Walker aide, and another an unspecified Waukesha County case.
Russell’s case has been delayed because of uncertainties involving his lawyer. Attorney Dennis Krueger hoped to continue representing Russell even though he also took a job as a Fond du Lac County prosecutor. A decision on that point is expected Friday, and Russell’s trial is set to begin Sept. 10.
The details of the Waukesha County case weren’t immediately clear. Landgraf didn’t elaborate, and Wolff said he couldn’t discuss other cases.
Wolff said Wink was frustrated with the continuing delays but added that she was committed to remaining cooperative.
The two misdemeanor charges to which she pleaded guilty carry a maximum combined penalty of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. However, as part of the plea agreement, prosecutors won’t recommend prison time. They may still seek any combination of probation, fines and restitution for the county salary she was paid while working on campaign material.