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Former Wis. assistant district attorney remains in good standing while on trial for secret sexual recordings

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//April 26, 2023//

Former Wis. assistant district attorney remains in good standing while on trial for secret sexual recordings

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//April 26, 2023//

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Daniel P. Steffen
Former Burnett County Assistant District Attorney Daniel Steffen.

By Steve Schuster
[email protected]

A former Wisconsin assistant district attorney who is facing three felony counts for allegedly secretly recording sexual encounters with victims he offered to help with their criminal cases is currently in good standing with the State Bar of Wisconsin and, to date, has not been subject to professional discipline.

The trial began Monday, April 24, for former Burnett County Assistant District Attorney Daniel Steffen, currently a Florida resident, who was charged in Wisconsin with making the secret recordings, according to court documents obtained by the Wisconsin Law Journal.

Steffen was charged on Feb 5, 2021, with three felony counts of representations depicting nudity in alleged violation of Wisconsin Statutes 942.09(2)(am)1, according to court documents.

Steffen is being represented by Minnesota-based attorney Eric John Nelson. Attorneys David William Maas and Edward Minser appeared in court this week on behalf of the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office.

According to the criminal compliant, Wisconsin DOJ’s DCI agents searched Steffen’s office and home in Osceola, Wisconsin, where they located an iPad in his bedroom dresser. The iPad contained videos of Steffen having sexual relations with two victims who later said they were not aware they were being recorded. The alleged recordings took place on or about Sept. 11, 2018. One of the videos was 72 minutes long, according to the criminal complaint.

VICTIM #1 said she first met Steffen at a pretrial conference for a case where she was facing charges for violating a restraining order obtained by the father of her child. Steffen was the ADA handling the case. VICTIM #1 said that the pretrial conference happened in Steffen’s office. She said that during the pretrial conference, Steffen gave VICTIM #1 his personal cell phone number. VICTIM #1 said she texted the Steffen that night.

VICTIM #1 said the next day she knew that the Steffen went to a work conference. She said she continued to text with Steffen while he was at his conference. VICTIM #1 said that when Steffen returned a few days later, he invited her to his residence. VICTIM #1 said they then had sex. VICTIM #1 said that she and Steffen had sex several times at his residence and at her residence.

VICTIM #1 also said they had sex at Steffen’s office during Burnett County’s District Attorney’s Office work hours.

According to the criminal complaint, during the act, Steffen said to the victim “Who’s in charge?” stuck out his tongue and winked at the camera.

Steffen, 53, is facing a fine of up to $10,000 per felony count and/or a prison sentence of up to 3.5 years per felony count.

The trial resumed Thursday, April 27, at 8 a.m. and is expected to conclude by week’s end.

In Wisconsin, The Office of Lawyer Regulation (not the State Bar) investigates attorney misconduct. OLR’s disciplinary process may occur when an attorney is charged with a crime or if a complaint if filed. Additional information is available in Wis. Supreme Court Rule Chapter 22.

“The Office of Lawyer regulation would take court records into consideration, as applicable, in handling a lawyer discipline matter,” said Tom Sheehan a public information officer for the State of Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Steffen who had previously served as a District Attorney in Polk County was convicted of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

This story has been updated.

Daniel P. Steffen

Daniel P. Steffen

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