Monday, October 24, 2005

Sources Say Chvala Plea Could Include Two Felonies

Prosecutors and defense attorneys could not be reached today to comment on a tentative plea deal reached in the case against former Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala. Calls to the offices of prosecuting attorney David Feiss and defense attorney James Olson were not returned by deadline.

With a plea hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. tomorrow in Courtroom 2D before Dane County Judge David Flanagan, political sources speculated on the nature of the tentative deal between Chvala and prosecutors.

Without the principles commenting, several sources speculated the Burke plea deal "set the floor,'' in other words, Chvala's deal would have to penalize him more.

Sources speculated the tentative plea was similar to Burke's in terms of jail time but with guilty pleas to two felonies instead of one. While that may seem lenient to some, one source said: "Chvala didn't put anything into his pocket; Burke did.''

Another source with ties to the legal community called the deal "plausible'' and said two felonies would be enough for Chvala to lose his law license. Chvala is facing 19 felony charges, including misconduct in office, extortion and filing false reports with the state Elections Board.

There was no confirmation of the plea coming before the judge tomorrow.

Chvala had been portrayed as the fighter who would take his case to trial, but sources note that Chvala also is the consummate deal-maker and probably was using a tried-and-true budget technique -- holding out as long as possible in the hopes of the best deal. And they hinted that discussions had been taking place last week.


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