Burke Pleads Guilty to One Felony, One Misdemeanor
More than three years after being charged for misconduct in the state Capitol, former state Sen. Brian Burke pleaded guilty this morning to one felony count of misconduct in office and one misdemeanor count of obstructing an officer.
Dane County DA Brian Blanchard has recommended six months in jail and a fine of $2,500 for the crimes. Dane County Judge William Foust will determine the sentence at a hearing at 10 a.m. on Nov. 30.
"I will say that having had the case as long as I have I think that the amendments ... capture the heart and soul of the case," Foust said after accepting the plea agreement. "The heart and soul of the case was count 1 ... and I don't think anything in the agreement does a disservice to either the defense or the public."
Burke attorney Jeremy Levinson refused comment on the case as he and his client were pursued down the hall by reporters after the hearing. "This is a very personal process. We will have absolutely nothing to say. Brian will have absolutely nothing to say," Levinson said. Levinson's co-counsel, Bob Friebert, was not at the hearing.
The plea agreement dismissed two counts of tampering with public records, and one count of destruction of public documents. Eight felony counts for misconduct in public office were dismissed but will be read in at sentencing. Five misdemeanor counts of misconduct in public office were previously dismissed by the court.
As part of the plea agreement, Burke admited that the state had evidence to prove all the counts that remained against him, and also waived his right to an appeal.
Read the plea agreement
About 10 minutes before the hearing began, Levinson and DA Brian Blanchard left the room for a quick conference. Burke was left alone in the room at the defense table with a dozen TV and still cameras pointed at him. He stared at a notepad in front of him.
More than a dozen media members jammed the jury box, and about 10 more sat in the audience.
At a press conference following the hearing, Blanchard said that there were mitigating aspects to the plea agreement, including the fact that Burke had no criminal history prior to the case and no wrongdoings had been committed following the incidents of 2001.
"We do not have evidence of a long-running scheme to defraud the state," said Blanchard.