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Rindfleisch attorney won’t appeal records release (UPDATE)

By SCOTT BAUER
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A former aide to Gov. Scott Walker will not take any further action to block the release of thousands of emails and other documents uncovered during a secret investigation, her attorney said Monday.

The decision by Kelly Rindfleisch, who pleaded guilty in 2012 to doing campaign work at her government job, could result in the immediate release of the documents, which are likely to include communications with Walker and his campaign team about his 2010 gubernatorial race.

The Associated Press and other news organizations asked the state appeals court to make the records public. The court last week ordered the documents released, but gave Rindfleisch 30 days to review the documents and request specific items containing private information be kept secret.

But in a letter sent Friday to Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Curley, Rindfleisch’s attorney, Frank Gimbel, said pouring over the thousands of documents wasn’t worth the time or expense involved.

However, Gimbel repeated his request that the records remain under court seal until Rindfleisch’s conviction appeal is resolved. Gimbel said Monday that he would not ask the Supreme Court to review last’s week document-release order.

Rindfleisch was one of six people convicted following a secret John Doe investigation into former aides and associates of Walker’s when he worked as Milwaukee County executive, prior to his being elected governor in 2010.

Rindfleisch was hired in January 2010 as Walker’s deputy chief of staff, but she also did campaign work on county time for Brett Davis, who was running as a Republican for lieutenant governor. Davis lost to Rebecca Kleefisch, who is now lieutenant governor.

Rindfleisch pleaded guilty in 2012 to one felony count of misconduct in office for doing campaign work at her government job. She was sentenced to six months in jail and three years of probation.

However, she is appealing the conviction despite her guilty plea, arguing that the scope of the search warrants used against her were so broad that her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches was violated.

Gimbel, in his letter to the judge on Friday, said releasing the documents “turns the constitutional analysis at the center of this case on its head.”

“Rather than fashioning a remedy to protect those records from public view while the appeal is pending, the court’s order tells Ms. Rindfleisch that every email seized, which we allege is in violation of her constitutional rights, is fair game for the media and public to rifle through and comment upon — regardless of its relevance to her prosecution,” Gimbel wrote.

Many documents were added last year at the request of the Wisconsin Department of Justice so it could argue that the scope of the search warrants in the case was appropriate.

Other media groups, in addition to AP, that intervened in the case were: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press and the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

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