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Walker’s former aide will plead to 1 felony (UPDATE)

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – One of Gov. Scott Walker’s former top aides has agreed to plead to one felony misconduct charge in a deal with Milwaukee County prosecutors that would keep the governor off the witness stand.

Kelly Rindfleisch is set to stand trial Monday on four counts of felony misconduct in office. Prosecutors have accused her of doing campaign work for Republican Brett Davis’ lieutenant governor bid while she was supposed to be serving as Walker’s deputy chief of staff during his tenure as Milwaukee County executive in 2010.

She faces up 14 years in prison and $40,000 in fines if convicted on all counts. But her attorney, Franklyn Gimbel, and Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf have been working on a plea deal.

Under terms Gimbel released Wednesday, Rindfleisch will plead guilty or no contest to one count. Landgraf would agree to drop the remaining three charges and recommend she serve time in jail rather than prison and a probation stint.

Landgraf said he wouldn’t ask for any fines or make recommendations on the length of her probation or her jail stint, saying he’ll leave that up to Milwaukee County Judge David Hansher.

Hansher must still approve the deal. He has scheduled a hearing on it for Thursday afternoon.

Rindfleisch is one of six Walker associates facing charges arising from a secret investigation Milwaukee prosecutors launched into Walker’s office.

Kevin Kavanaugh, whom Walker appointed to the county Veterans Service Commission, went to trial Monday on charges he embezzled about $42,000 from veterans groups. The trial is expected to stretch into Friday.

Darlene Wink pleaded guilty in February to two misdemeanor charges of political solicitation by a public employee. Prosecutors accused her of working on Walker’s gubernatorial campaign while she was supposed to be doing her job as a county constituent services coordinator. She’s scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 21.

Walker himself hasn’t been charged with any wrongdoing. Gimbel has subpoenaed him to testify at Rindfleisch’s trial but the plea deal would ensure that doesn’t happen.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie didn’t immediately return telephone and email messages.

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