Governor Scott Walker, listed last month on the prosecution witness list in the John Doe trial of former Walker top aide Kelly Reindfleisch (he's also on their list for another top aides trial, Tim Russell, in December) is also being called as a defense witness.I'm not surprised that Walker is declining to comment on his upcoming testimony, but I'm sure he's spending a lot of time with his high priced lawyers on that appearance.
Defense attorney Franklyn Gimbel of Milwaukee late last month issued the summons to appear. It calls for the Republican governor to testify at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 16 in Milwaukee County Circuit Court in the trial of Walker's former deputy chief of staff, Kelly Rindfleisch.
Rindfleisch, 43, of Columbus, has been charged with four felony counts of misconduct in public office for alleged illegal campaign work she did in 2010 during Walker's time as Milwaukee County executive.
Walker's office and his campaign declined to answer questions about the governor's upcoming court appearance.
Gimbel said the governor did not attempt to fight the subpoena. The state Constitution prohibits lawmakers from being subpoenaed while the Legislature is in session and for 15 days before and afterward, but there is no such exemption for governors, according to Anne Sappenfield, senior staff attorney for the Legislative Council.
"Some states have statutes that grant immunity to governors so that they cannot be called to testify in legal proceedings — Indiana, for example. But most do not," said Karl Shoemaker, UW-Madison associate professor of history and law. "Any witness retains, of course, the right to refuse to answer questions on grounds recognized under existing law — for example, if testimony is covered by attorney-client privilege, or the 5th Amendment protection against self-incrimination."
Yes, he'll have to testify and the thought of that is just too tantalizing for words.
Will he lie? Maybe, but then he could be charged with perjury and that would create even more problems than he already has.
Will he take the Fifth? Who knows? I doubt he'll sit there and let the prosecutors have more insight than they already have in the goings on inside his Milwaukee County Executives Office.
Will he have memory lapses? Well, it worked during the Watergate Hearings (for those of you too young to have watched them live, you'll just have to Google). However, how good does it look when a very active politician, Governor, and someone ambitious for higher office has a bad memory? And how many different ways can you say "I can't recall" until it becomes indicative of lying or senility.
Will he throw Reindfleisch and other top aides under the bus? In a cold second. He'd throw his grandma under the bus if he got something in return. Just look into those cold, dead eyes and tell me differently. He used his openly hostile teenage sons in campaign ads (I felt their pain).
I have a feeling that Reindfleisch and her lawyer might still try for a trial delay. They have been trying, but the courts have rejected all those motions and appeals. Her fellow John Doe defendants have been successful in delaying until after the elections. Having this trial during the last weeks of the election won't be good for Republicans.
Well, I can't wait for next week. can you?
UPDATE: Thanks to JackBC in the comments. I had closed my news pages in preparation for dinner, but his were on to find this important development.
Prosecutors in Milwaukee County have reached a tentative plea deal with Kelly Rindfleisch, a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive.
The two sides will meet in Milwaukee County Circuit Court at 1:30 p.m. Thursday to present a tentative deal before Judge David Hansher.As I stated below in the comments I found this to be very interesting:
Rindfleisch would be the second former Walker staff to plead guilty to campaign-related charges. The other is Walker's former constituent services director, Darlene Wink.
When she and Darlene Wink were indicted (on the same day) Wink traded reduced charges for her cooperation in the John Doe and Reindfleisch was indicted on felonies. The thought was that either prosecutors wanted to punish her because she avoided prosecution in the Caucus Scandals (where the same politics done in taxpayer facilities on taxpayer time was widespread) by cooperating with prosecution OR that she refused to make a deal..
I find this a fascinating development. Is she going to cooperate or has she been told to make a deal in order to protect others, like Walker, from making revelations just before an election (or because media coverage would be damning in general).
She has certainly tried to avoid her day in court with vigor so the whole idea of a plea deal is surprising.