Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Webcasts of Kratochwill's Cross-examination Available

See new WisPolitics/Mediasite webcasts of the cross-examination of former Assembly Republican Caucus director Jason Kratochwill. Webcasts of Kratochwill's direct examination were posted earlier.

Prosecution Witness: Cross-examination of former Assembly Republican Caucus director Jason Kratochwill

--You must have a high-speed line.
--Click on the chosen link above.
--Wait until it loads and then adjust volume on your speakers and on the + - scale below the screen on the right.
--Use the "slide'' cues above the screen on the right to page through the interview to the spot you want.
--Watch and listen, or minimize the screen, listen and do other computer work.
Questions? Contact: webmaster@wispolitics.com


Trial Adjourns for Day, Petri Up First on Wed.

When the case picks up at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow, the prosecution will continue to question Petri.

Also expected tomorrow are: Jensen staffer Brian Dake, Rose Smyrski, Bill Cosh, Carrie Hoeper-Richard and Linda Hansen.


Former ARC Staffer Recalls "Rah-Rah Speeches" and Fundraising Invite, Printing

After Rhodes-Engels was excused, the state called ARC staffer Tom Petri, who worked there from March 2000 through November 2001 as a media specialist.

He said in the primary season of 2000 he was called on to help develop ads for Republican Assembly candidates. Petri's background was in radio news.

When questioned by prosecutors, Petri said he wrote the campaign radio ads on state equipment and while on the state payroll.

He said he did take vacation time to engage in campaign work in 2000 but he was not paid by any campaign or campaign committee other than to receive a mileage reimbursement.

As did prior witnesses, Petri recalled Jensen attending Monday morning campaign meetings in the ARC office. "He was the coach, and we were the players," Petri said of Jensen. He said Jensen was prone to giving "pep talks" and "rah-rah speeches."

Petri said he recalled Schultz printing fundraising invitations on the state-owned caucus printer. He also testified she organized envelope-stuffing sessions in the caucus conference room to get out fundraising letters.


Defense Draws Parallels Between Schultz, Rhodes-Engels' Jobs

Rhodes-Engels testified that Jensen assigned the duty of making the phone crew lists to Schultz.

Rhodes-Engels said throughout he employment with Ladwig she was paid by the state, and never paid by RACC. She estimated that "at least half" of her time was spent doing RACC work during campaign season.

Asked if Schultz was ever paid by RACC, Rhodes-Engels said she didn't recall writing her a paycheck but did recall making out an expense check to her on one occasion.

Asked if she felt she gave the state "2000-plus hours per year," Rhodes-Engels said, "Yes, I believe I did."

Morgan used his cross examination to draw parallels between Schultz and Rhodes-Engels' jobs during the period. He said they were both organizing fundraisers, doing campaign finance reports, and other campaign activity. Earlier, under questioning from Korte, Rhodes-Engels had testified that a difference between Schultz and herself was that Schultz was raising money for individual candidates, while she was supporting RACC and Ladwig's responsibilities as treasurer.

When asked by Morgan if she agreed they were pretty much doing the same work, Rhodes-Engels said yes.


Former Ladwig Staffer Details Schultz' Fundraising Involvement

Judi Rhodes-Engels, a one-time staffer for former Rep. Bonnie Ladwig who now works for Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, recalled meetings in Jensen's office near election time to discuss the state of caucus fundraising. She said Schultz and Ladwig would also be there, as well as Kratochwill.

She said Jensen's role in the meetings would be to "pull all the different information together" and decide where money should be distributed. Schultz's responsibilities included keeping track of individual members' accounts, and creating "call sheets" of lobbyists for legislators to contact for contributions, Rhodes-Engels said.

Korte displayed a sheet detailing a list of lobbying organizations, their pledges, and the status of those pledges. Rhodes-Engels said the sheet was like ones that were discussed at the meetings in Jensen's office.

Asked what Schultz' job was, Rhodes-Engels said, "To raise dollars for individual campaigns and candidates."

Korte referred back to a fax introduced as evidence last week from Schultz to Ladwig and Rhodes-Engels.

She said the fax referred to a "phone crew" session, in which legislators would call and solicit donations from lobbyists or interest groups.

She said the chart-like sheet was a list of those who had committed cash and to whom they had committed it. Schultz organized the phone crews, gave the lawmakers a list of contacts and provided the phone numbers, and the legislators would report back to her, Rhodes-Engels said.

She said she wasn't aware of Schultz contacting any lobbyists or interest groups in person.


Witness Recounts E-mailed Warning from Speaker Brancel

After lunch, Keleher testified that in '97, then-Speaker Ben Brancel sent out an e-mail to all Assembly and Senate members and staff, warning them against using state equipment for campaign activity. She said she recalled the e-mail "caused a stir" in the Capitol.

In his cross-examination, Meyer pointed out that while prosecutor Korte used the term "campaign activity," the e-mail actually forbade "political activity." Meyer said the e-mail merely reiterated a provision in the Assembly employee handbook.

On redirect, the prosecution asked if she was confused over the meaning of “political activity” in Brancel's e-mail and she said she was not confused.

Judi Rhodes-Engels is the next witness.


Former Staffer Recounts RACC Practices of Mid-'90s

Virginia Keleher, a staffer for Rep. Judy Klusman beginning in August 1994, said she became involved with RACC soon after being hired by Klusman. Klusman was assistant majority leader at the time, and was in charge of RACC fundraising operations in '94 and '96.

Keleher began to discuss what she did with RACC (bookkeeping, tracking donations), and where RACC meetings were held in '94 (restaurants).

Before she proceeded too far, defense attorneys Meyer and Morgan asked for a conference at the bench. After a brief off-the-record conference, Ebert excused the jury for lunch.

Back on the record, but with the jury gone, Morgan and Meyer argued that Keleher's experience goes outside the timeframe of the charges. But Ebert said other similar testimony has been allowed in already, and said he would allow Keleher's testimony.

The trial is set to resume around 1 p.m.


Lobbyist Told to Contact Schultz Re: Fundraising

During a meeting in then-Majority Leader Steve Foti's Capitol office in 1998, lobbyist Patrick Essie said he was told by the Majority Leader to contact Sherry Schultz, or that she would contact him, regarding a fundraising issue. Essie, who took the stand after Searl, said during 1998 he had "more than one" telephone conversation with Schultz regarding fundraising.

"She would call and she would say she was calling on behalf of Scott (Jensen)," he said.

He also said he attended a fundraising meeting with other lobbyists at the RPW office. He said Jensen, Ladwig and Schultz were there.

He also testified that he had a meeting in Jensen's office in 2000 where Essie talked about his clients, and Jensen talked about the vulnerable members and the help they needed. Blanchard asked Essie what he took help to mean, and he said "campaign donations."

He also said those meetings would be followed up by a call from Schultz. He said he couldn't recall Schultz ever picking up checks, but did ask when the checks would be ready.

On cross, defense attorney Stephen Meyer asked if Jensen ever mentioned aiding or hindering legislation in connection with campaign contributions. Ebert wouldn't allow him to answer, sustaining Blanchard's objection to the question's relevance.

In his cross-examination, Schultz attorney Stephen Morgan tried to poke holes in Essie's memory. He said Essie originally told investigators the meeting at RPW may have occurred in 1996. Essie said that was "possible."

Essie also admitted he "can't say for sure" Schultz was at the meeting, but "to the best of my recollection she was."

Essie's time on the stand has ended and Virginia Keleher is next on the stand.


Former Jensen Staffer Spent 50 Percent of Office Time on Campaign Activity

Former Jensen staffer Leigh (Himebaugh) Searl, the next on the stand after Kratochwill, testified that she photocopied checks made out to the Taxpayers for Jensen campaign committee in the speaker's office in 1999.

She said Jensen would bring the mail in a canvas bag to his legislative office from home, and then Chief of Staff Brett Healy would sort the mail. Healy would then ask Searl to copy the checks, file the copies in a binder, and log the contributions.

Searl estimated 50 percent of her time in Jensen's office was spent on campaign activity. She worked in Jensen's office off and on before May 2000, then worked for the caucus from May to November of 2000.

Around May 2000, while an employee of the Assembly Republican Caucus, Searl was moved to an office in the Republican Party of Wisconsin, where she said she shared an office with "Mr. Graber." She said she spent "100 percent" of her time working for Taxpayers for Jensen, and did campaign finance reports for Jensen and another candidate whose name she couldn't recall.

Searl left state employment in November 2000. She said between May and November, she interacted with Jensen a couple times a month, and recalled conversations with him about contributors who had "maxed out." She also remembers him inquiring of her how much particular supporters had given and their phone numbers.

She said she never used any leave, sick or vacation time during the tenure, other than a day or two to do a lit drop for an unrelated campaign.

Searl said Jensen staffer Jodie Tierney told her in May 2000 that they were going to try to get her paid by Taxpayers for Jensen instead of the state. "I said fine, and that's as far as it went," Searl said.

Searl said under cross-examination from Meyer that Jensen never assigned her work, and that the work was always assigned by Jensen's senior staffers.

She also testified that she took vacation days to do a lit drop because, "to do a lit drop was considered campaign work, and we were instructed to take a vacation day."


Morgan Wraps Up Kratochwill Cross-Examination

Wrapping up his hour-long cross examination, Morgan asked if he recalled ever removing canpaign documents from ARC with Lyndee (Wall) Woodliff, as she testified last week. Kratochwill said documents were being removed from ARC as early as 1999, but he has no specific memory of Woodliff being there. He also said, though, that he couldn't say with certainty she was not present.

Morgan also asked Kratochwill about the incident where he accused reporter Dee Hall of trying to steal documents, which Woodliff recounted in her testimony last week. Kratochwill said Hall picked papers up off his desk while he was on the phone, and that she did this without his permission.

Hall last week shared her version of the story with reporters.

During cross, Kratochwill admitted to Morgan that he never saw or heard Schultz ask any one for money in the ARC office or elsewhere. But on re-direct, Blanchard followed up on Morgan's question about why Schultz was in the ARC (Morgan had said Kratochwill thought it was to spy for leadership).

"What was Sherry Schultz there from leadership to do?" Blanchard asked.

"To raise money," Kratochwill answered. He also said Schultz would apprise him of fundraising activity on the campaigns, and could also be found photocopying checks in the office. Kratochwill said he believed those checks to be fundraising checks.


Defense Probes Kratochwill's Motives, Immunity Deal

In his cross examination this morning, defense attorney Stephen Morgan further tried to shed doubt on Kratochwill's motives and the veracity of his testimony.

Morgan highlighted the number of interviews Kratochwill has had with investigators, saying there had been four interviews between Oct. 26, 2005 and Feb. 10, 2006 to prep him for the trial. Kratochwill said each lasted about two hours.

Morgan asked if it were true that Kratochwill had refused to turn over certain documents until he had received immunity. Kratochwill said he complied with all elements of the subpoena, but added it was "probably" after immunity was granted.

Kratochwill received immunity in November 2001 and at the time was working at the PSC. Morgan asked if while being interviewed by prosecutors Kratochwill took vacation time from the PSC. "I don't know, perhaps," Kratochwill answered.

Morgan asked if at the time he was employed by the PSC and cooperating with prosecutors his legal expenses were being covered by the state. "I believe so," Kratochwill said.

Then Morgan asked about Kratochwill's relationship with defendant Sherry Schultz. Morgan asked if it were true that he disliked Schultz from the moment he met her. "We were not friends," Kratochwill replied.

Morgan tried to paint Kratochwill as suspicious of Schultz, saying he told investigators in an early interview that he thought Schultz was trying to get him fired. Morgan also asked if Kratochwill believed she was placed in the ARC to "spy" on ARC. Kratochwill said no, but did admit that Schultz had a great deal of influence with her boss, then-Majority Leader Steve Foti.


Prosecution Has Until Friday to Present Its Case

This morning, Judge Steven Ebert asked DA Brian Blanchard if he still expected to rest on Friday. Blanchard said he hoped to. "You have to rest on Friday," Ebert said, saying the trial can't go beyond three weeks due to conflicts with his schedule.

Ebert said he will make arrangements to have the jury sequestered beginning a week from Friday (March 10).

After former caucus director Jason Kratochwill finishes his testimony, next up will be Leigh (Himebauch) Searle and Patrick Essie. After that Virginia Keleher and Judi Rhodes-Engels are expected to take the stand.

The order could change, however, depending on the availability of the witnesses at the courthouse, according to Blanchard.

Jensen's attorney Stephen Meyer also told the judge that he has made arrangements with the prosecution to have one of his witnesses, Chad Taylor, testify this Thursday due to the witness's travel plans.


Monday, February 27, 2006

No Revised Witness List Yet for Defense

After the trial closed for the day, Meyer said the defense's pared-down witness list is ready, but Judge Steven Ebert said it didn't have to be turned in yet.

Meyer said he cut "a bunch" of people from the original list, but did not give any further details.


Defense Questions Witness' Dealings with Prosecutors

Meyer said, and Kratochwill confirmed, that he met twice with law enforcement before turning in his resignation letter on Oct. 9, 2001. Meyer said at that point Kratochwill had already instructed his attorney to deal with prosecutors for immunity.

In the resignation letter, Kratochwill thanked Jensen for the rewarding experience of serving as caucus director, Meyer pointed out. He then asked Kratochwill how many days later he next met with authorities. Kratochwill said he didn't know. "Would you believe two?" Meyer asked.

Meyer's cross-examination is done and tomorrow morning defense attorney Stephen Morgan will get his chance at cross.


Kratochwill: Jensen Never Acted to Destroy Documents

Kratochwill said Jensen never directed documents be destroyed or acted to destroy any himself. In fact, questions by Meyer prompted Kratochwill to confirm that Jensen ordered ARC to comply with all open records requests, and even hired a private investigator in the summer of 2001 to check into reports of document destruction.


Defense: Caucus' Purpose Was to Help Re-Election

Meyer went line-by-line through a list from an ARC document to show that the caucuses were set up to aid in the re-election of incumbents. Meyer pointed out ARC duties like database collection and redistricting to enforce his point.

"Isn't everything on this page geared toward getting legislators re-elected?" Meyer asked. When Kratochwill answered in the affirmative, Meyer said, "Our taxpayer dollars are being used to help that legislator get re-elected. Correct?" Again, Kratochwill said yes.

Meyer also asked Kratochwill why after he was first contacted by reporter Dee Hall he contacted the directors for the other three caucuses -- the Assembly Democrats, Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats.

"To tell them about the meeting because I knew either she was seeking to or had met with their offices as well," Kratochwill said.

But when Meyer asked if he did so because he knew the other directors had the "dual role" Kratochwill had at the ARC, Blanchard objected. The objection was sustained by Ebert on the grounds of relevance.


Kratochwill Cross-Examination Begins

Defense attorney Stephen Meyer began his cross examination of Kratochwill at 4:15 p.m.

Meyer attempted to show that the line between legislative staffer and campaign worker was often violated.

In '92, when Kratochwill was a staff member for Sen. Dale Schultz, Kratochwill served as campaign manager for Rep. Steve Freese, Meyer pointed out. Kratochwill said he never took a leave of absence to perform those duties.

In '94, while still a Schultz staffer, he worked on the senator's re-election campaign. Asked by Meyer what Kratochwill did for the campaign, Kratochwill answered, "According to him, not enough." Kratochwill did say he took a week's vacation prior to the election to do lit drops for Schultz.

Meyer said that once legislative sessions end, staffers can be hard-pressed to find meaningful tasks. As an example he used the ARC graphic designers. He asked Kratochwill if the designers' main task from January to June was newsletters, and Kratochwill said yes.

But when the session ends in June, Meyer asked if it was "fair to say the (newsletter) work disappears in the summer?" Kratochwill said yes.

Meyer also asked if it was fair to say that while the newsletters, which are taxpayer-funded, do provide constituents with legislative news, they're also "a good way for legislators to advertise themselves." Kratochwill said yes.


Kratochwill Suggested Moving Schultz Out of State Office

Kratochwill said he never assigned Schultz any legislative work, nor was he aware of anyone else assigning work related to the state to her. He said in early 2000 he suggested to Jensen that Schultz be moved out of the ARC office. "I thought it would be better if she were somewhere else because the fundraising was fairly obvious," Kratochwill said. He said no action resulted from the conversation.

At the time Kratochwill said he suggested that Schultz work out of the RPW, but it was nixed. "She's an employee (of the state) but she's sitting at the Republican Party every day -- (that) would probably draw attention," Kratochwill said.

It wasn't decided that Schultz would transfer out of her government job to the RPW until months after the "caucus scandal" story broke, Kratochwill said. He said in August or September of 2001, at a meeting at the RPW offices attended by Jensen, Foti, Ladwig and Gard, it was decided Schultz would go to work at the party.


Webcasts of Kratochwill's Testimony Available

Click the bolded links below to watch excerpts of former caucus director Jason Kratochwill's testimony from this morning. Click the other links to see other WisPolitics/Mediasite webcasts recorded so far during the trial.

WisPolitics/Mediasite Webcasts
--You must have a high-speed line.
--Click on the chosen link above.
--Wait until it loads and then adjust volume on your speakers and on the + - scale below the screen on the right.
--Use the "slide'' cues above the screen on the right to page through the interview to the spot you want.
--Watch and listen, or minimize the screen, listen and do other computer work.
Questions? Contact: webmaster@wispolitics.com


Defense Attorney Complains About His Time Slot

After the jury was excused a break around 3 p.m., Schultz attorney Stephen Morgan complained to Judge Ebert that he always seemed to be taking the floor late in the day. Morgan pointed out to Ebert that his opening statement was offered late last Tuesday, and on Friday he didn't finish his cross-examination of Ray Carey until nearly 6 p.m. He said if testimony continues, he wouldn't get a crack at Kratochwill until after 5 p.m. today.

Ebert wasn't too sympathetic, telling Morgan that he "didn't want to stop that early. We have a lot of witnesses to go."


Kratochwill Got Assignments 'From My Boss, Mr. Jensen'

Blanchard's inquiry of Kratochwill continues.

The prosectors are submitting reams of evidence attempting to establish how deeply involved in campaign activity the ARC was, including the work of Foti staffer Sherry Schultz, and Jensen's knowledge of the work ARC carried out.

One memo from Kratochwill dated Oct. 2000 said of the Lippert campaign, "need help with $30,000." Kratochwill explained the note meant they "need help from RACC to find it."

Blanchard asked if Jensen ever suggested Kratochwill not do campaign work on state time. "He never suggested that," Kratochwill answered.

Asked who he consulted with about his duties and how he should use his time, Kratochwill replied, "I would get assignments from my boss, Mr. Jensen."

Other tidbits from Blanchard's afternoon questioning:

-- Blanchard produced a memo handwritten by Jensen to Kratochwill, Schultz and a Ladwig staffer about a meeting the staffers were to attend later that day with Foti, Ladwig, Gard and Jensen. The meeting was to divy up RACC cash for the final push in the 2000 campaign.

-- Kratochwill testified that RACC budgeted $90,000 for campaign salaries, but he said none of that money went to him or to any of a list of ARC staffers named by Blanchard. Kratochwill said he never took a leave of absence to do campaign work.

-- Kratochwill also testified that ARC employee Paul Tessmer created voter lists targeting citizens by individual issues, such as hunters or senior citizens, using state resources and on state time.

-- Blanchard showed the jury a business-card size RACC contact list marked "confidential" that included Schultz's name. The card was distributed to members and candidates. For Schultz, it listed a state phone number and a fax number Kratochwilll believed belonged to ARC.


Caucus Workers Used in Campaign TV Ad

After lunch, Kratochwill testified that in the 2000 campaign season, ad agency Wilson and Grand was hired by RACC to produce commercials for targeted campaigns. Kratochwill said the firm was hired after an interview in Jensen's office in which he, Jensen, Foti, and Ladwig were present.

The jury was shown a 30-second spot for candidate MaryAnn Lippert featuring Sue Ann Thompson. In the commercial, four ARC staffers appeared, including eventual whistle-blower Lyndee (Wall) Woodliff, as well as one legislative staffer. Kratochwill said the commercial was taped during regular work hours.

Kratochwill estimated from June until the 2000 election, he spent 10 percent of his work time on the ads; from writing the RFP to hire an agency, through writing the script, participating in the shoot, and placing the ads.


Lunch Break Until 1:30 p.m.

The trial's lunch break started shortly after noon and goes until 1:30 p.m.


Caucus Staffers Took Part-Time Leave for Full-Time Campaign Work, Kratochwill Says

Kratochwill testified that he drew up staff plans for campaign season, and often talked to Jensen about those plans. He said at the peak of the campaign cycle, ARC would have 26-27 people out working on campaigns.

Kratochwill said the staffers were paid part-time by campaign committees while they were out in the field working full-time on campaigns. At the same time, staffers would report 20-50 percent leave from their state jobs.

Blanchard asked Kratochwill if Jensen ever displayed any "concern" over the pay arrangement. Kratochwill said no. Asked why the staffers were paid the part-time salary from the campaigns, Kratochwill responded, "Appearance."

In a specific incident, Kratochwill recalled Jensen being unhappy that not enough staff was provided for the campaign of MaryAnn Lippert. "He wanted staffers there earlier rather than later," he said. Kratochwill said Jensen wanted three staffers on the campaign full-time after the primary.


Testimony: Assembly Leadership Met in Capitol to Coordinate Fundraising

Kratochwill testified that meetings to coordinate the delivery of "seed money" from existing campaign committees to new candidates were held in the speaker's office leading up to the 2000 election. He said besides himself, Jensen, Schultz, Foti and Ladwig would attend these meetings.

Kratochwill said Jensen, Foti and Ladwig were the Assembly leaders most intimately involved in RACC, but he did add that current Speaker John Gard would "stop in at times" to RACC meetings.

Prosecutor Brian Blanchard showed the jury a grid with "assessments" expected of incumbent Assembly Republicans -- Kratochwill testified that there was a policy that incumbents were required to pay from their campaign accounts to challengers' campaigns. He said RACC leadership calculated the assessments and tracked collections.

In another document, Jensen hand-wrote a list of "friendly" groups and what they contributed to challenger candidates. The contributors were identified by Kratochwill as "mostly lobbyists and some party officials."

Blanchard also displayed a memo that Kratochwill said was created at ARC which outlined a strategy for which candidates should take advantage of public funding and which should pull their applications.


Jensen Pushed for 'Great Campaigner' to Be Hired at Caucus

Blanchard displayed a correspondence between Kratochwill and Jensen in which Kratochwill made the case for Patrick Lanne to be hired for an ARC job. Kratochwill said Jensen was pushing to hire Brian Fraley because "he was known as a great campaigner and would be a benefit to the team." Lanne, a former staffer for Rep. Frank Lasee and employee at Public Opinion Strategies, was ultimately hired for the position.


Former Caucus Director Details Involvement in Candidate Recruitment

As former caucus director Ray Carey testified on Friday, Kratochwill said part of the ARC director job was to act as director of the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee.

Kratochwill said beginning in 2000, he was very involved in candidate recruitment for the fall election. Some weeks he would call as many as a dozen candidates. He said he never avoided using state resources for the recruitment, and Jensen never advised him not to.

He also testified that Jensen would get involved in the process when a candidate was close, and would often make calls to the potential candidates from his Capitol office. Asked if Jensen ever attempted to make these calls over the lunch hour, Kratochwill said no.

Kratochwill said in 1996 he worked on a La Crosse Assembly campaign, and then was switched to Jeff Stone's campaign in Milwaukee because it was believed Stone had a good shot at knocking off the incumbent.

Kratochwill said he discussed the move to the Stone campaign in the ARC office with Jensen and then-RPW director RJ Johnson. "I was senior staff with a lot of experience, and it was a better fit for me to go there," he said.

Blanchard introduced a memo Kratochwill wrote to Jensen and Carey on Oct. 9, 1996 that summarized Stone campaign strategy. He testified that at no time did Jensen suggest to him he shouldn't use state time or resources to do the campaign work.


Week Two Begins With Another Former Caucus Director

The prosecution called former Assembly Republican Caucus director Jason Kratochwill to the stand at 8:35 a.m.

Kratochwill worked as policy director at ARC from '95-'97, and as caucus director from '99-'01. He now works as a realtor.

Before Kratochwill was called, Judge Steven Ebert asked the jurors if they'd seen or heard any media accounts or engaged in any conversations about the trial. One juror raised her hand and said she, "overheard a conversation about the trial and walked away."

She said she heard in a public conversation the mention of "names involved in the trial." The judge asked whether the attorneys had any questions. They did not, and the trial proceeded.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Trial Ends for the Week

Carey's testimony wrapped right around 6 p.m.

Anyone who needs a fix of trial info over the weekend can spend some time reviewing the trial Web casts.

The trial is set to start up again Monday morning.


Carey: Director's Job Was to Maintain Republican Majority

Carey elaborated on the purpose of the ARC director job in Meyer's cross. He said it was to secure and maintain a Republican majority.

Under Morgan's cross examination, Carey further elaborated. "The Legislature is a political body. It's all about the majority driving a political agenda."

Morgan responded, "What's that got to do with the people of the state?"

The question drew an objection from the prosecution. Ebert sustained the objection.

Morgan asked Carey if he ever asked Schultz to provide him with progress reports of candidates' fundraising efforts. Carey said yes, and Morgan asked him why that information would be important to him.

"You can't win a campaign if you don't have money." Carey answered.

Morgan asked whether that was a necessary function of Carey's employment of the state.

"During the campaign cycle," Carey replied, "to the extent that I'm the ARC director and I want to see a majority of Republicans re-elected ... yes."

Carey agreed with Morgan's statement that virtually all of ARC's staff were involved with campaigns during the campaign season. He also said that "a good chunk" of legislative staff were also involved with campaigning in that season.

As he has with nearly every witness who's received immunity, Morgan questioned Carey about his immunity agreement with the state. He pointed out that Carey originally refused to cooperate with the investigators.

Morgan asked why he changed his mind, and Carey said because of "potential prosecution."

Morgan asked him what he had to lose by not cooperating, Carey answered, "My money, my time, my life -- many things."


Carey Says Staff Put In Plenty of Hours of State Work

During cross-examination, defense attorney Stephen Meyer asked whether Carey felt, despite the campaign work, that he and the ARC staff "gave the state 2,000-plus hours a year." Carey said he believes they did, and that policy work for the Republican Assembly members never suffered.

Carey also told Meyer he learned how to do his job as caucus director through orientation from his predecessors. Carey said he inherited some policies for what expenses RACC would pick up. Postage was paid for by RACC, as was a phone line at the ARC office.

"If there was a direct expenditure, from the state, of monies -- that was something we'd try to avoid," said Carey.

As an illustration of the standard, Carey said, "a computer is not a tangible expense of money -- although there is depreciation I suppose -- as opposed to something like postage."



A blog posting from yesterday erroneously said that former Assembly Republican Caucus designer Kacy Hack testified that she did work for "the special election campaigns of Rep. Don Friske and Rep. Terri McCormick." A second look at video of the testimony shows Hack said she did work in the elections of Friske and McCormick, but those were not necessarily special elections.

Here's a transcript of the exchange between Hack and the prosecutor:

Prosecutor: Did you do any work for special elections?
Hack: Yes
Prosecutor: Do you remember doing any work in the -- not saying these are special elections, just the elections -- of Don Friske?
Hack: Yes
Prosecutor: Terri McCormick?
Hack: Yes
Prosecutor: Are those non-incumbents?
Hack: They were at the time.

McCormick's campaign manager, Tracy Mangold, said in an open letter to prosecutor Brian Blanchard that "at no time has (McCormick) ever procured the services of a caucus graphic artist for any type of campaign work" and threatened court action against Hack for slander.

Here's an excerpt from that letter:

Representative Terri McCormick has never run in a special election and furthermore, has never commissioned the work of any caucus graphic artist at any time since she has been in office. Representative McCormick's graphic artist has been from the very beginning Roberta Bosetti of Appleton.

This erroneous allegation, if reported accurately by Mr. Bump is blatantly untrue. Representative McCormick is seeking legal counsel and will file charges of slander against Kacy Hack if necessary. Representative McCormick is more than willing to go on the stand and testify under oath that at no time has she ever procured the services of a caucus graphic artist for any type of campaign work.

See the full letter to Blanchard.


Prosecution Offers Evidence of Carey's Campaign Involvement

Korte has produced a series of documents exhibiting Carey's involvement in campaigns. Among them was a report on RACC's performance in the '96 election. Carey sent the report to Jensen and other legislative leaders.

Korte also introduced a checklist Carey created to keep him updated on various Assembly campaigns. The surveys would be turned in by staff at Monday morning meetings at ARC.

Carey also testified he created "RACC Flashes" to be sent out to RACC members informing them about happenings in the committee. He said the flashes were sent via fax using a state-supplied machine in the ARC office.

Carey said defendant Sherry Schultz was one of the go-to advisors for fundraising questions after she joined ARC in 1998, when she was hired by Foti but worked out of ARC office. He said she also attended RACC executive committee meetings.

Carey said he did not consider Schultz a "RACC fundraiser," but said of her, "There were seats in which she would help members raise money."

The prosecution has finished its questions and the defense cross-examination has begun. Judge Steven Ebert said he wants to finish Carey's testimony before breaking for the weekend.


Bloggers Weigh In

See trial-related posts from a few state bloggers:

I Am the Force: Political Persecution Update

Mad, bad, and dangerous to know: Fire Kevin Kennedy

The Xoff Files:
-- Jensen taking the team down with him
-- Green's caucus scandal connections spotlighted in Jensen trial testimony
-- Jensen defense outs Jeff Wagner
-- Caucus web snares Green, Walker staffers

Above the Belt:
-- Slow and Clumsy Prosecutors are Wearing Thin
-- It's the Football Schedules, Stupid!
-- Clear as Mud
-- Blanchard Passes the Buck
-- Opening Statements -- State v. Jensen


Carey Outlines Director's Job Duties

Assistant Attorney General Roy Korte is handling the questioning of former Assembly Republican Caucus director Ray Carey.

Carey, who is now a Foley & Lardner lobbyist, served as ARC director from December '94 to January '98. As director, he said he was an "ex officio member" and "essentially executive director" of RACC.

Carey said his job at ARC included duties like managing staff and developing legislative policy. But as RACC executive director, his jobs also included campaign work.

"My job was to make sure that Republicans in the Assembly got re-elected, and if there was an open seat that a Republican got it, and if there was an opportunity to defeat an incumbent Democrat to do that also," he said.

Carey said when Jensen was majority leader, RACC executive committee meetings were held in the ARC office. He said Jensen attended the meetings. When Jensen became speaker, the RACC meetings were held in Jensen's office, Carey testified.

The trial is now on recess until approximately 3 p.m.


WisPolitics/Mediasite Web casts

Click the links below to watch the WisPolitics/Mediasite Web casts recorded so far during the trial.


Woodliff Finished; Former ARC Director Carey Next Up

Lyndee Woodliff has been excused from the stand and former Assembly Republican Caucus director Ray Carey is next up.

Judge Steven Ebert said he's considering limiting testimony to direct and cross examination only.


Defense Questions Why Woodliff Kept Campaign Fax

During his initial questioning of Woodliff, prosecutor Brian Blanchard introduced a fax from Schultz to former Rep. Bonnie Ladwig and a staffer that Woodliff said she found on the ARC fax machine one morning.

On cross examination, Morgan asked her why she took it off the fax machine, made a photocopy and kept it.

"I'm not 100 percent sure what I was thinking right then," Woodliff replied.

See the fax in question.


Woodliff Cross-Examination Continues

As the trial resumes after a lunch break, defense attorney Stephen Morgan is still cross-examining Woodliff.

Woodliff said that Kratochwill would reassure her. "He'd say, 'Hang in there. Campaign season will be over soon and you can work on the policy issues you care about.'"

She said, "He would never say the words, 'I know this is wrong.' But he's saying I know your concerns ... It's not as if I asked him this stuff and his response was 'Where is this coming from. This is way out in left field.'"

Morgan then challenged her on whether she's equipped to interpret "right and wrong."

"What did you study to lead you to believe that RACC was being operated improperly within one week of time?" Morgan said."

"What did I study? Nothing," Woodliff replied.

Morgan also asked if Woodliff had "designs" to run for political office.

"To say I have designs would mean I have plans. I don't have any plans. But I do care about a democratic system very, very dearly," Wall said.


Reporter Says She Didn't Steal Documents

During his cross-examination of Woodliff, Meyer brought up the conduct of Dee Hall, the reporter who broke the inital caucus story. He asked if Wall told investigators about a conversation with Kratochwill where the caucus director told her Hall had tried to steal documents off his desk. Woodliff said Kratochwill had told her that, and Woodliff told investigators about it.

Hall, who has been covering the trial, spoke to a pair of reporters during a break to deny the allegation and give her account of the meeting.

She said when she met with Kratochwill he tried to offer proof of the legitimate work at ARC by showing her a stack of papers and setting them on his desk. During their conversation, Hall picked up the stack of papers, began looking through them, and found a sheet with campaign information in the middle of them. When she pointed it out to Kratochwill, she said, "he snatched it out of my hands and said, 'What are you doing rifling through my desk?'"

Hall said she then asked for Kratochwill to provide her copies of all the documents in the stack. He later did, minus the campaign sheet, she said.


Woodliff Was 'Uneasy' About Reporter's Investigation

Woodliff told Morgan that before the Wisconsin State Journal reporter who uncovered the story came to ARC for an initial interview, Kratochwill he told staff to hide or turn over on their desks all campaign-related documents.

Woodliff said she always had the feeling that her ARC job was not legitimate. "I did know that what I was doing was breaking the law. I mean, I almost quit my job in the first week," she said. After the newspaper started investigating the organization, though. "I personally started to get very uneasy once she (the reporter) started snooping around," Woodliff said.

Morgan asked her if before that she had conversations with Kratochwill about "right and wrong" at ARC. She said she had, and thought Kratochwill agreed because he had talked with legislative leadership about getting RACC its own office space.


Trial Coverage Round-up

Cap Times: What price to save Jensen? Trial's dirty laundry has GOP furious

AP: Former GOP Employee Testifies About Campaign Work On State Time

Wis. State Journal: Mark Green Comes Up In Caucus Trial

Milwaukee JS: Caucus workers describe coverup, Ex-staffers testify about elaborate measures

Channel 3000: Jensen Trial: Ex-Employee Testifies About Campaign Work On State Time, Trial Began Tuesday


Defense Challenges Woodliff's Memory

During defense attorney Stephen Meyer's cross-examination of Woodliff, he tried to discredit her testimony about campaign materials being stored on state computers. He pointed out that yesterday several witnesses testified that campaign material was stored on external drives or disks.

"There is no question my computer was not the only one in that office where campaign materials were stored. I saw computer screens," Wall said.

He also challenged Woodliff's statement that ARC staff held a bonfire to destroy documents in the fall of 2000. Woodliff said she was not at the bonfire, but was told about it by Kratochwill and others. "They said, 'We already bonfired a bunch of it,'" she testified.

The second defense attorney, Stephen Morgan, began his cross of Woodliff by trying to cast doubt on her memory. Woodliff said she met with prosecutors to review the facts of the case a week and a half ago. Morgan said the documents she looked over at that time were reports written by investigators, and asked how she could be sure of the accuracy of those accounts.

"Because I lived through it initially," she said. "It's like anything ... your recall memory comes into effect."


Caucus Workers Directed to Remove Campaign Materials in Advance of Newspaper Story

After ARC director Jason Kratochwill met with reporter Dee Hall, who broke the "caucus scandal" story, he ordered workers to remove documents from the office, Woodliff said.

Woodliff said she was told to "take anything (campaign-related) that wasn't necessary for day-to-day use that was at my station, to take it home." She said on several days she filled her briefcase full of documents to take home with her.

Following the directive from Kratochwill, Woodliff remembered asking Schultz if she needed help removing campaign-related material, leaving the legitimate state items.

Schultz reply was, "I don't have anything that is legitimate," Woodliff recalled.

Woodliff left the ARC in March 2001. The first media reports of the "caucus scandal" appeared in May of that year.


Woodliff Saw 'Stacks of Fundraising Letters' in Schultz' Office

Woodliff said she remembers seeing "stacks of fundraising letters" in Schultz's office, and fielded a lot of calls from campaign staffers for Schultz. Woodliff said she also fielded numerous calls daily from campaign staff to ARC deputy director Mark Jefferson and spokeswoman Heather Smith.


Short Recess

The court is taking a break until 10:25 a.m.

When it reconvenes,the prosecution will continue its questioning of Lyndee (Wall) Woodliff.


Woodliff: 'Everything We Did Was Campaign Activity'

Woodliff took the stand at about 8:40 a.m. She took over the job of office manager and assistant to the caucus director after Rhonda Baker left the position in 2000.

When she started, Woodliff said the state-owned computer at the ARC office contained a list of potential GOP Assembly candidates from across the state. She also said it was common practice that campaign-related correspondence sent from ARC to the Capitol was walked over in person rather than sent via legislative page. If a page was used, she said documents were "stapled-up" for confidentiality.

In a job orientation memo prepared by Baker, Woodliff was told "never ever tell someone you are working on something for RACC -- this would cause serious problems." Woodliff testified that most of what she did was campaign-related work.

"Everything we did was campaign activity," she said.

Blanchard displayed a grid-style list of legislative employees who were working on campaigns. Woodliff said she maintained the list and it was subject to "continuous revisions." While at ARC, Woodliff said she was responsible for coordinating payment for legislative employees who would take leave time to work on campaigns through the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee. Woodliff said she would go to the state party's office in Madison to pick up the checks.

In an example of efforts undertaken to keep her political work separate, Woodliff said she was under specific instruction to send only "legitimate" state materials via ARC's Federal Express account. Campaign materials were to be sent through RACC's UPS account, she said. RACC mail was received at the ARC office as well, Woodliff said, although RACC did have a post office box that was picked up by a staffer for former Rep. Bonnie Ladwig.

Other examples of campaign work recounted by Woodliff:
  • Prosecutor Brian Blanchard had Woodliff identify a post-campaign survey she created on a state computer that was sent to legislative staffers who worked on campaigns.

  • During the campaign season, Woodliff said ARC and legislative staffers would meet on Monday mornings in the ARC office to brief each other and supervisors on campaigns they were working on in the field. "Basically Mondays were the time when they could meet with the people in our office and get the information they needed," Woodliff said.

  • Woodliff said she would fax proofs of graphic designs of campaign materials created by ARC staff on a state-owned fax machine to campaign offices and printing houses.

  • Woodliff said on two occasions to her recollection, she delivered poll results from Public Opinion Strategies to Jensen's office.


Lyndee (Wall) Woodliff Takes the Stand

The third day of testimony has begun in the trial of Rep. Scott Jensen and former legislative aide Sherry Schultz.

The defense had no cross-examination questions for former Assembly Republican Caucus analyst Rhonda Baker this morning, so her time on the stand has concluded.

Lyndee Woodliff (whose maiden name was Lyndee Wall) is next on the stand. Woodliff was a key figure in the initial Wisconsin State Journal stories on political activity in the caucuses.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Parties Trade Blows Over Caucus Involvement

The state Democratic and Republican parties today traded accusations over each party's gubernatorial candidates, and each side tried to tie the other to the caucus scandal.

The Dems started it off, in a release titled "Green and Walker: What Did They Know, When Did They Know It?"

An excerpt from that release:

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Joe Wineke today blasted Republican gubernatorial candidates Mark Green and Scott Walker for dodging reporters' questions about their ties to the caucus scandal. For two straight days, Green has reportedly avoided answering reporters' questions on the topic - despite attending numerous public events in Madison and Milwaukee.

"Mark Green and Scott Walker have tried to sidestep the caucus scandal by saying that they never knew of illegal campaign activity - but it now turns out that employees of both were involved," Wineke said. ...

Green, who was in the GOP leadership as caucus chairman for the Assembly Republicans, was a member of the Assembly from 1993-98. Walker was in the Assembly from 1993-2002.

According to media reports:

*A graphic artist for the Assembly Republican Caucus spent "virtually 100 percent" of his time doing "campaign-related activities";

*Precautions were taken by Assembly Republican staff members to avoid being caught campaigning on state time;

*Green's current chief of staff, Chris Tuttle, worked as media director for the Assembly Republican caucus and "regularly approved campaign materials";

*Tuttle next worked in Green's Assembly office before joining Green's congressional office; and

*Bruce Pfaff, Walker's campaign manager, worked on Scott Jensen's staff and delivered work orders for campaign brochures.

Then the GOP responded with a release that tracked the Dem release virtually word for word over the first two paragraphs, only substituting Gov. Jim Doyle's name for the names of the GOP candidates. Even the title was a virtual match: "DOYLE: What Did He Know, When Did He Know It?"

From that release:

The Executive Director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Rick Wiley, blasted Governor Jim Doyle for dodging reporter's questions about his ties to the caucus scandal. For years, Governor Doyle has avoided answering questions on the topic.

"Governor Doyle has tried to sidestep the caucus scandal by saying he never knew of illegal campaign activity - but now it turns out that several of his employees were involved," Wiley said, "For someone who was the top law enforcement officer in the state as Attorney General and his office was directly involved in the investigation of the caucus scandal, to say that he didn't know what was going on defies credibility. Why won't Jim Doyle come clean about what he knew and when he knew it?"

... several members of his campaign staff and administration were implicated in wire transfers of campaign money, operation of an "independent" issue advocacy group from state offices and campaigning at the taxpayer's expense.


Web Cast of Grant's Testimony

See a Webcast excerpt of testimony from former ARC designer Eric Grant.

--Caucus Designer Says He Used State Equipment for Campaign Materials
--Caucus Worker Says He Only Saw Schultz Work on Fundraising
--Designer: Candidate Profiles Done with State-Owned Materials
--Designer Says He Did More Work for Jensen than Anyone Else
--Caucus Workers Were Warned to Hide Campaign Materials
--Defense Says Caucus Campaign Work an Established Practice Prior to Jensen
--Grant Testimony Winds Up

--You must have a high-speed line.
--Click on the chosen link above.
--Wait until it loads and then adjust volume on your speakers and on the + - scale below the screen on the right.
--Use the "slide'' cues above the screen on the right to page through the interview to the spot you want.
--Watch and listen, or minimize the screen, listen and do other computer work.


Caucus Directors, Whistleblower Wall Due to Take Stand Friday

The trial has adjourned for the day, and will pick up tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. with the cross examination of Rhonda Baker.

Tomorrow the prosecution plans call Lyndee Woodliff (Wall) and former ARC directors Ray Carey and Jason Kratochwill.


Caucus Job Description Listed 'Campaign Activity -- All the Time'

Former Assembly Republican Caucus analyst Rhonda Baker said her job consisted of assisting the caucus director with whatever tasks requested of her. Asked if she was the office manager, Baker said, "It wasn't the title, but you could say that."

Baker was succeeded in the job by whistleblower Lyndee Wall. Part of Baker's duties before leaving was to complete a job description. Part of it read, "campaign-related activity -- all the time," according to the document read by Korte. Baker verified the document.

She testified that many of her duties consisted of chores for RACC.

Baker said she didn't recall Schultz doing campaign-related tasks in the ARC office, other than lunchtime envelope stuffing with other staff.


Another Caucus Artist Recalls Political Work

Kacy Hack, another former ARC graphic artist, took the stand next. Hack worked at ARC from April 1999 until it closed in November 2001. Hack was a more reticent witness than the graphic designers that preceded her.

A few months after she started work she said she worked with Schultz on a fundraiser invitation for a representative, and she recalled doing other work on fundraiser materials. She also recalled stuffing envelopes for a campaign on at least one occasion.

In addition. Hack said she did fundraising invitations for the Taxpayers for Jensen, and said she dealt with Schultz or a Jensen legislative staffer on those projects.

Contrary to prior witnesses, Hack said to her recollection campaign-related work was saved on disks in order for it not to take up space on hard drives, not necessarily to keep it secret. She said it wasn't unusual to keep non-campaign work on disks.

She said she also designed materials for the election campaigns of Rep. Don Friske and Rep. Terri McCormick, who is a candidate for the 8th Congressional District seat. (NOTE: This item has been corrected)

On cross-examination, Meyer asked Hack what Jensen said to her after the "caucus scandal" became public.

"He just wanted to make sure that he could help if we needed jobs - he just wanted to help us out," Hack said. She said Jensen never tried to influence what she told investigators.


Heat Leads to Brief Recess

It's steamy hot in the courtroom today. The witnesses and attorneys are sipping water throughout the proceedings.

Judge Ebert just gave the jury a break until 3:25 "to cool off."

Kacy Hack, another graphic designer, is next up on the stand.


Designer Recounts Last Days of ARC's Existence

After then-caucus director Jason Kratochwill's interview with reporter Dee Hall, Riedesel said Kratochwill insisted on locking the ARC office doors during the day. He said he and Schultz thought having the doors locked was a nuisance, and often left them unlocked when Kratochwill was away.

As Grant testified earlier, the work requested by Schultz made up for only a fraction of his total work time, Riedesel said.

After the news broke, Riedesel said tension ran through ARC. "Everybody was kind of nervous, you know, whether we had a job still or whether anybody was going to be charged," he said.

However, he said, Jensen was "very reassuring" that everyone would still have jobs.

Under re-direct from Blanchard, Riedesel said Jensen never said working on campaigns on state time was lawful.

"The only thing I remember him saying is it's been going on this way for 20-30 years," Riedesel said.


Artist Thought Secrecy Was Because of Dems

Defense attorney Meyer asked about the measures taken to maintain the secrecy of the documents. Riedesel indicated that he thought the goal was to keep them out of Democratic hands. "And did you believe the janitor was a Democrat as well?" Meyer asked.

"Yes - actually he stated he was," said Riedesel, drawing laughs.

Riedesel said he had no idea there was anything illegal going on until "caucus scandal" whistleblower Lyndee Wall passed him in the hall one day.

"She said, 'Doesn't it make you mad doing this work?' I said, 'Whaddya mean?'" Riedesel recalled. "She said, 'It's illegal.'"

Riedesel said no one suggested it was illegal before, but he said after Wall's comment he read newspaper reports that drove the point home to him.


Designer Says Campaign Work Kept on Separate Drives

Former Assembly Republican Caucus graphic designer Lee Riedesel said campaign material he worked on was kept on external disks or drives. At first he attributed this to the sensitivity of campaigns, but later came to a different realization.

"When I found out my job was actually not legal is when I attached the idea of why (campaign materials) were kept separate from the hard drive," Riedesel said.

Riedesel said he was directed by legislative staffers to work on campaign-related materials while he was employed by ARC.

As an example of Riedesel's work, Blanchard showed the jury a campaign piece for former Assembly candidate Cal Rabas. The mailer was approved by Kent Disch, then a staffer for Rep. Mike Huebsch. The approval stamp which bears Disch's signature indicates approval for 10,000 copies.

Riedesel said he also worked on lit pieces involving issues like hunting and abortion, and said he once used the state equipment to create an ad for former Assembly Majority Leader Steve Foti's trophy shop.

Twenty to 25 times during the 2000 campaign season, he said Schultz came to him to and had requests for campaign pieces. He said he couldn't remember working on anything with Schultz that was not campaign-related.

Neither Jensen nor Schultz ever told him he shouldn't be doing campaign work on state time, he said.


Ward Testimony Finished

Gina Ward is done testifying.

Next up for the state is another former ARC graphic designer, Lee Riedesel, who was hired in May 2000 and worked there until ARC was closed in the fall of 2001.


2nd Designer Testifies to Campaign Work in Caucus

Gina Ward, the state's first post-lunchtime witness, was hired at the Assembly Republican Caucus in 1987 by Jensen.

Ward, who now works with the Wisconsin state Senate as a graphic designer, says beginning with the 1988 primary season, she worked on campaign material. She said during election season, "most" of her time was taken by designing campaign materials, and the campaign workload gradually increased through the campaign period.

Blanchard asked if she does any campaign work in her current job. "I don't," she replied.

On cross-examination, Jensen attorney Stephen Meyer established that Ward only worked under caucus director Jensen for a couple years before he left for the governor's office.

Ward also said that while Jensen hired her, there were others at the job interview, and Jensen served under the orders of all the Republican legislators in the Assembly. Ward also said she doesn't remember Jensen ever assigning her any campaign-related work.

Ward also testified she has never worked with or met Sherry Schultz.


Time for Lunch

The trial recessed around noon. Prosecutor Brian Blanchard said Gina Ward will be the next witness called when the jury returns at 1:15 p.m.

Ward worked in both the Senate and Assembly Republican caucuses.


Grant Testimony Winds Up

Meyer tried to punch a hole in Grant's answers about the secrecy of documents, saying that there may have been reasons to hide them other than keeping them away from the media or legislative officers.

"Wouldn't it be the kind of information you didn't want the Democrats to get their hands on?" Meyer asked, saying the Assembly Democratic Caucus had an office in the same building.

"Yes," Grant responded.

Defense Says Caucus Campaign Work an Established Practice Prior to Jensen

Jensen attorney Stephen Meyer is attempting to establish that the practice of ARC doing graphic design for campaigns predates both Grant and Jensen.

He had Grant thumb through a folder of campaign materials. Grant identified pieces he designed himself for Mark Green, Rob Kreibich and MaryAnn Lippert. But he said he did not design pieces for former Gov. Tommy Thompson or former AG candidate Jeff Wagner in 1994.

Later, Schultz attorney Stephen Morgan tried to poke a hole in the prosecution's pile of evidence, casting doubt on a fax Grant identified as being sent by Schultz to Rep. Jeff Stone.

Morgan pointed out that the fax was dated Oct. 29, 1999, an odd-numbered year. Grant testified earlier that the majority of the campaign work he did was in even-numbered years. And, Morgan said it wasn't unusual for a Republican legislator to meet with business organizations like MMAC.

"Typically, are Republican legislators more aligned to business entities?" Morgan asked.

"Typically," Grant said.

Morgan also asked Grant whether there was anything about the fax that indicated it was about a campaign matter. Grant said he couldn't verify it was.

Grant said he took the fax sheet, along with the work orders, with him when he left ARC. Morgan asked him why he would do that.

"I had a box of campaign-related materials that I kept, and when I left I took them with me because I didn't feel they should be left in the office," Grant said. "The other option was to throw them out and that was something we weren't supposed to do."

Under questioning from Morgan and Meyer, Grant admitted that he also did campaign work for other elected officials on state computers, including work for Dane County board candidates, and received compensation for that work. But, he said, work he did for former Gov. Tommy Thompson and Tammy Baldwin was done on his personal computer.

Under re-direct from Korte, Grant estimated he did campaign work for all but two or three of the Assembly members at the time, plus several challengers.

Grant, who now works for a Chicago ad agency, ran an unsuccessful primary campaign for Assembly from his Grafton home district in 1994.

Caucus Workers Were Warned to Hide Campaign Materials

Grant said staffers were advised not to use state e-mail to do correspondence regarding campaigns.

"We were told it should be done with private or personal email addresses," Grant said, although he said even if he was using a personal account, he was still sending via a state computer.

There was also a practice of alerting ARC staffers to the presence of a visitor from the chief clerk's office or the media, Grant said.

"We were told not to leave things out for other people to see," he said.

On one occasion to his recollection, an announcement was made over the intercom that then-Assembly Chief Clerk Charlie Sanders was on his way to the ARC office. He said if anyone from the clerk's office, Ethics Board or media came over staff was to "hide any non-state materials, meaning hide all campaign-related materials."

He said he earned a salary of between $40,000 and $50,000 from the state during his employ at ARC. Grant said he did receive immunity from prosecutors for his testimony.

Jensen attorney Meyer has begun his cross of Grant.

Designer Says He Did More Work for Jensen than Anyone Else

Former caucus graphic designer Grant today said he did more work for Jensen's campaign committee than any other legislator.

Prosecutor Korte had Grant read several work orders for Taxpayers for Jensen materials, including fundraiser invites and balloons. Grant testified he also designed materials for Jensen's "Speaker's Club" fundraising group, which sent out newsletters and audio tapes of Jensen speeches.

In addition, Grant testified he e-mailed campaign-related materials to the personal e-mail of Bruce Pfaff, a one-time Jensen staffer and now campaign manager for Scott Walker.

He said Jensen would occasionally stop by the office and show his thanks. "He was always very good about thanking me and others for the hard work we were doing - very appreciative."

Designer: Candidate Profiles Done with State-Owned Materials

Grant testified that he designed the 1998 Assembly Republican candidate profiles while employed by ARC and using state-owned materials. The profile publication carried a dislaimer that said it was paid for by RACC.

Grant said when he would receive work orders from the Capitol to ARC, the orders would arrive in double-sealed envelopes. He said non-campaign orders would not be double-sealed.

Caucus Worker Says He Only Saw Schultz Work on Fundraising

Former ARC graphic designer Eric Grant testified today that although defendant Sherry Schultz was employed by former Assembly Majority Leader Steve Foti, she worked exclusively on fundraising activity.

Grant, who worked at the Assembly Republican Caucus until April of 2000, had an office adjacent to Schultz at ARC's Fairchild Street office. Schultz would give Grant work orders to design campaign materials, he said.

Asked if he saw Schultz doing any other work, Grant said, "Other than fundraising? No."

Grant also testified that he saw campaign materials like mailing lists and campaign finance reports in Schultz's office.

As evidence of Schultz's campaign work, Korte displayed a fax from her to Rep. Jeff Stone. The comment section of the fax read, "Got sidetracked ... Here are the MMAC names for you to look."

Grant verified that it was in Schultz's handwriting. "It would have been for a fundraiser for the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee -- either that or Jeff Stone," Grant said.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Web Cast of Fuller's Testimony

See part one of the WisPolitics/Mediasite Web cast of testimony from Assembly Chief Clerk Patrick Fuller.

Part 2 - Assembly Chief Clerk Patrick Fuller

Part 3 - Assembly Chief Clerk Patrick Fuller

--Defense Says Political Activity Manual 'Confusing'
--Blanchard Shows Memo from 2000 Spelling Out Campaigning Prohibition
--Assembly Clerk Takes the Stand

--You must have a high-speed line.
--Click on the chosen link above.
--Wait until it loads and then adjust volume on your speakers and on the + - scale below the screen on the right.
--Use the "slide'' cues above the screen on the right to page through the interview to the spot you want.
--Watch and listen, or minimize the screen, listen and do other computer work.
Questions? Contact: webmaster@wispolitics.com

Trial Done for the Day

The jury was let out at 5:15 p.m.

Testimony will resume tomorrow with Grant back on the stand. Blanchard wouldn't comment on what witnesses will be called tomorrow.

Caucus Designer Says He Used State Equipment for Campaign Materials

Former Assembly Republican Caucus graphic designer Eric Grant, the prosecution's third witness today, said he was using state equipment to design campaign materials just a few months after he was hired.

He was originally hired to produced letterhead, business cards and newsletters for Assembly Republicans. But just a few months after he started he said he was asked to design items like yard signs and nomination papers for the special election campaign of Mike McCarrier in 1995.

The work flow was so heavy during campaign time that he created a special "work-flow order" for campaign materials in 1998, Grant said. Between June 1 and Election Day during election years, Grant said he spent "100 percent" of his time producing campaign materials, often working 10- to 12-hour days and weekends.

He said the work orders were approved and listed in order of importance by his superiors: Ray Carey, the caucus director; Todd Rongstad, the deputy director and Chris Tuttle, the media director. Tuttle is now U.S. Rep. Mark Green's chief of staff.

Grant testified that the finished materials would always include a disclaimer saying the product was paid for by a particular candidate or their committee.

Prosecutor Korte produced several work order documents in an attempt to link Jensen to the campaign work. In one such document, a former caucus staffer wrote on a work order for a piece targeting seniors, gun owners and pro-life voters, "Jensen wants me to get these three pieces out before our 9/28 poll."

Another work order had a note reading, "ASAP: for Jensen."

Defense Says Political Activity Manual 'Confusing'

The defense attorneys spent the afternoon trying to show there are contradictions in state documents regarding political activity and legislative staffers.

While Fuller said under cross examination that there was no language in the old policy manual regarding campaign activity, he told Blanchard under re-direct that language exists defining and prohibiting political activity.

However, Morgan pointed out that some of the job activities ascribed to the caucus director position included expressly political activities.

Adding fuel to Morgan's flame, Fuller said, "Everything we do in the Assembly is political."

"And therefore, the manual on political activity is confusing at best," said Morgan.

"I'm confused, yes," answered Fuller.

Next up is Eric Grant, a former graphic designer with ARC.

Blanchard Shows Memo from 2000 Spelling Out Campaigning Prohibition

In part of his examination of Fuller, Blanchard produced a memo dated May 16, 2000 from then-Assembly Chief Clerk Charlie Sanders to Assembly staffers, spelling out the prohibition of campaign activity on state time. It specifically said that staffers were not to use state facilities or resources that the average citizen would not have access to for campaign purposes.

But under Meyer's cross examination, Fuller said one of the first duties he was assigned when joining as assistant Assembly chief clerk in 2001 was to revamp the Assembly policy manual. He said a review of the old manual by he and then-Chief Clerk John Scocos found there was no definition of campaign activity or a written policy specifically about employees participating in campaign activity.

Web Cast of Kennedy's Testimony

See a WisPolitics/Mediasite Web cast of the first part of testimony from Elections Board chief Kevin Kennedy today.

See the second part of Kennedy's testimony. (note: there is a slight tape delay at the 82 minute mark)

--Defense Tries to Show Gray Area in Campaigning Statute
--Defense Quizzes Kennedy on Campaign Finance Complaints
--Defense Objects to Questions on Campaign Assistance
--Elections Board's Kennedy Explains Campaign Finance

--You must have a high-speed line.
--Click on the chosen link above.
--Wait until it loads and then adjust volume on your speakers and on the + - scale below the screen on the right.
--Use the "slide'' cues above the screen on the right to page through the interview to the spot you want.
--Watch and listen, or minimize the screen, listen and do other computer work.
Questions? Contact: webmaster@wispolitics.com

Assembly Clerk Takes the Stand

This afternoon, the state continues to methodically lay out its case against Rep. Scott Jensen and former legislative aide Sherry Schultz.

Assembly Chief Clerk Patrick Fuller took the stand at 1:20 p.m., and testifed that the state Assembly paid the rent for the Assembly Republican Caucus office across the street from the Capitol, and all the equipment used in the office was state-owned.

DA Brian Blanchard also asked about the hiring process for legislative staff. Fuller said each legislator is responsible for hiring his or her own staff.

But Fuller said he never heard of state resources going to RACC, or that service at RACC was used as a stipulation of state employment.

Blanchard also had Fuller confirm the employment of many former ARC and legislative staffers, contemporaries of Jensen and Schultz. Many will be called by the prosecution in coming days.

Defense Witness List Due Monday

Korte asked when the defense would be providing the modified witness list as Judge Ebert requested yesterday. Ebert said that depends on when the state expects to rest.

"At this rate ...," Korte said, drawing laughs.

But Ebert was all business. "At this rate I'll begin limiting testimony," he said.

Blanchard said the prosecution had intended to finish up in the early part of next week. Ebert told the defense to have a pared down witness list to them by Monday. See the original defense witness list.

The trial is on recess until 1:15 p.m.

Defense Tries to Show Gray Area in Campaigning Statute

Stephen Morgan, attorney for Sherry Schultz, followed a line of questioning that attempted to show there is gray area in the state statute being cited by prosecution as prohibiting the use of state facilities for campaign purposes.

Read the statute in question

Kennedy said he and his staff worked with the state Ethics Board in 2001 and clarified what state employees and officials can do on state time with state resources.

Morgan asked if prior to that Kennedy had known campaign activity on state time could be construed as illegal. "I think the statutes were clear at the time," Kennedy said. "I think because people weren't following the statutory requirements that it needed to be made more clear."

But, Kennedy added, it was generally pretty clear prior to 2000 that if you were on the state payroll you were not to engage in campaign activity.

Morgan asked Kennedy if campaign finance reports were generally accurate. Earlier in the morning. Kennedy told Meyer he wouldn't be surprised if a majority of reports contained errors. He said they were generally errors of omission. "There's a lot of details in those reports and it's not unusual to have an error in the details," Kennedy told Morgan.

Morgan also said the Elections Board adopted a software program for electronic campaign finance reporting co-created by Schultz, trying to establish that Schultz was very knowledgeable about campaign finance laws. Morgan asked whether the board had paid Schultz. Kennedy said no, they hadn't.

Morgan asked an interesting question on re-direct, trying to show the confusion of rules regarding the definition of state resources and their use by the RACC.

"Would you consider a state legislator to be a state resource because a state legislator is paid by the state?" he asked.

"No, I wouldn't," Kennedy replied.

Defense Quizzes Kennedy on Campaign Finance Complaints

On cross-examination, Meyer quizzed Kennedy on the filing of campaign finance report complaints with the Elections Board.

Meyer asked if many complaints are filed for political reasons. "I think there's a political advantage or disadvantage to filing complaints," Kennedy said. But Elections Board staff audit the complaints and weed out those that are baseless. "There have been examples where we've dismissed complaints because they did not allege a violation."

Meyer asked several questions that suggested the blurring of campaign and government work in the Capitol. Asked whether he ever contacted legislative staff during office hours about campaign issues, Kennedy said, "I made calls whenever my work schedule permitted me to make the calls because my calls were related to the work my office does."

Kennedy said staffers would often inform him they were on their lunch hour when they'd come by the Elections Board. "My response was always, 'Your time is between you and your boss and you and the Ethics Board,'" Kennedy said.

Meyer also grilled the Elections Board chief on contradictions in campaign contribution reporting: doesn't an incumbent legislator receive a value by having the ability to hold a press conference in the Capitol, or the governor by using a state-owned plane to fly to a city and present a check?

"That's one of the perks of being in office," Kennedy said. "You're going to be in a public setting and on behalf of the government to provide benefits to the local government or public.

After a half-hour cross-exam, Meyer turned over questioning to Schultz attorney Stephen Morgan.

Defense Objects to Questions on Campaign Assistance

Korte questioned Kennedy for more than an hour when he got to a series of questions that drew objections.

Korte inquired whether the state provides state-paid employees to assist in campaigns, drawing an objection from both defense attorneys. They said the question was leading, and Judge Ebert asked Korte to rephrase.

"Are you aware of any state statute regarding campaign financing that provides candidates for office any state employees?" he asked.

"No, I'm not," answered Kennedy, after the judge overruled the defense objections.

Korte then asked if statutes provide state-paid support for fundraising, the design of campaign materials, fundraiser mailing, or office space and equipment. Kennedy said they don't.

Korte then pulled out a stack of exhibits from the three boxes Kennedy provided to the prosecutors. Ebert called a brief recess to allow them to get the exhibits in order.

After the recess, Korte entered into evidence campaign finance documents from RACC covering 1997 through 2001.

Also entered were reports from former Jensen opponents Chad VanDierendonck (2000) and David Ostendorf (2000).

In addition campaign finance reports from Ted Nickel ('99-'00), Steve Foti ('97-'01), MaryAnn Lippert ('97-'01) and current Reps. Don Friske ('00-'01), Jeff Stone ('97-'01), and Jerry Petrowski ('98-'01).

Korte didn't ask Kennedy any questions about the reports.

Elections Board's Kennedy Explains Campaign Finance

The first day of testimony in the trial of Rep. Scott Jensen and former leggie aide Sherry Schultz began with state Elections Board Executive Director Kevin Kennedy taking the stand.

Kennedy opened his testimony by answering questions from Assistant AG Roy Korte about the state Elections Board, explaining his role in it, and the election and campaign rules for Assembly members. Legislative campaign committees, conduits and PACs were among the entities Kennedy defined for the jury.

The jurors look alert and interested, with most making notes on pads provided by the court.

Jensen, in a dark suit, white shirt and red tie, looked calm as he jotted notes at his desk next to attorney Stephen Meyer. Schultz sat quietly at a table a few feet behind Jensen with her attorney, Stephen Morgan.

Kennedy provided background on the campaign finance system uninterrupted until Korte asked him what the purpose of the campaign finance system was. Both defense attorneys objected, saying Kennedy was not qualified to comment on the purpose of legislative fundraising. Judge Steven Ebert overruled the objection.

Kennedy said the purpose of the campaign finance system is simply to disclose to the public the sources of support to candidates and campaign committees.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Elections Chief, Assembly Clerk to Be Among Blanchard's First Witnesses

Dane County DA Brian Blanchard told the court the first three witnesses he will call tomorrow are state Elections Board Executive Director Kevin Kennedy, Assembly Chief Clerk Patrick Fuller and former Republican caucus graphic artist Eric Grant.

See Blanchard's witness list for a look at other witnesses that could be called during the trial.

Judge Steven Ebert this morning asked the defense to trim its witness list. Defense attorney Stephen Meyer said after today's session ended that he's already told a couple of witnesses -- William Bablitch and Tim Cullen -- he won't call them. He also said he still plans to call former Gov. Tommy Thompson.

Court Adjourns for the Day

The jury was adjourned for the day at 6 p.m., and will return tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.

Morgan: No Illegal Activity from Schultz

Stephen Morgan, attorney for former legislative aide Sherry Schultz, said the prosecution must be held to its word as it tries to show Schultz acted improperly in her 46-month stint in ARC.

"Did she go out and raise money for campaigns? Did she go out and leaflet for campaigns? That is what the state is trying to show goes on here," Morgan said.

Morgan said in Schultz's 15-year legislative career, she established herself as a person who could get things done for legislators.

"One of the things they are going to rely on her for is to keep them out of trouble," he said.

While she did many things in her career, none of her activity was illegal, Morgan said, "because she has to have an intent to obtain a dishonest advantage" in order to have broken the law.

Meyer: Caucus Job Descriptions 'Replete with Contradictions'

Meyer said caucus employee job descriptions at the time were "replete with contradictions" that gave them duties to strategize with party officials over state policy moves while forbidding them from campaign activity. He said Dept. of Veterans' Affairs Secretary John Scocos, who was hired by Jensen as Assembly Chief Clerk, will tesitfy that Jensen went about cleaning up these contradictions well before the allegations broke in the press.

"Scott Jensen is a truthful and a good public servant," Meyer said in summation. "He is not guilty of these allegations."

Attorney Says Jensen Plans to Testify

In his opening statement, attorney Stephen Meyer told the jury that in 10 days, his client, Scott Jensen, will take the witness stand to give his version of events.

While Assistant AG Roy Korte was formal, delivering his statement from behind a podium in a business-like manner, Meyer's delivery is more casual, leaning on an elbow against the podium.

Meyer said he's spent the last three years re-learning everything he thought he knew about the Legislature. He said he learned that "serving in the state Legislatiure is a proud and honorable profession, be it Republican or Democrat, and it involves a certain amount of self-sacrifice. You have no life. It's 24/7."

Meyer gave the jurors a thumbnail bio of Jensen's life and political career, from his beginnings as a legislative aide, to Gov. Tommy Thompson's chief of staff, to his election to the Assembly. Through the years, Meyer said Jensen learned the importance of campaigning, and "has foregone numerous opportunities to engage in more lucrative pursuits."

He said Jensen has been re-elected twice since the charges were raised, once by the largest margin of his career. He said Jensen loves his job. "It is his life," said Meyer.

Meyer Takes Center Stage

Assistant AG Roy Korte wrapped up his opening statement shortly before 5 p.m. Stephen Meyer, Jensen's attorney, is addressing the jury now.

State Says Case to Focus on Duty, Money and Deception

Assistant AG Roy Korte said the case against Jensen and Schultz comes down to three elements -- duty, money and deception.

He said Schultz's job was to "raise and track campaign contributions" and Jensen directed Schultz and members of his own staff to campaign.

Korte talked about the Assembly Republican Caucus and the role of the caucus director, and said jurors will hear that employees on the state payroll are prohibited from campaign activity on state time.

"You will hear the obvious -- that private campaigns must be privately paid for and run by the candidates," Korte told the jury. "And you will hear that money is very important in state campaigns -- the management and collection of money."

Korte said the case is not about individual political views, or about whether people in the Capitol talk politics.

"It is simply about duty: Duty not to use state resources for campaign activity and duty not to direct state employees to do campaign work with state resources."

Korte characterized the now-defunct Assembly Republican Caucus as deeply involved in campaign work. He said a graphic artist employed by ARC spent up to 98 percent of his time designing campaign materials, and created a work order form exclusively for campaign work.

Emergency Alarm Clears Courtroom

An alarm sounded in the courthouse shortly after Judge Ebert began jury instructions.

A recorded voice said an emergency had been reported in the building and told all occupants to exit.

Ebert did not release the jury immediately.

"The first time this occurred it was someone smoking in the boy's room," quipped Ebert. "The second time it was someone's popcorn was overdone. So I'm not overly concerned."

After several minutes, with the alarm still going, bailiffs cleared the courtroom. A fire engine was dispatched to the scene but occupants were let back in approximately 10 minutes later.

When the courthouse was cleared for re-entry, Ebert joked, "There goes 20 of your minutes Roy," teasing co-prosecutor Roy Korte of the Dept. of Justice.

"I'm editing as we speak," Korte quipped.

When the jury was again seated, Ebert said, "And you thought jury duty would be boring."

Jurors Sworn In as Trial Begins

The 12-person jury and three alternates -- nine women and six men -- were led into the courtroom and sworn in at about 3:25 p.m.

Judge Steven Ebert read the jury instructions.

Blanchard said he expects the state's opening statement to last about 45 minutes. Both Meyer and Morgan said they will take 25-30 minutes each.

Ebert said he expects to have jurors on their way by 5:30 p.m.

-- by Greg Bump

Jensen Jury Impaneled

Fifteen jurors have been selected to sit in judgment of former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen. At least two of the individuals chosen indicated during jury selection that they do now or have worked at one time for a state agency.

One juror indicated that he knew two potential witnesses in the case through his profession.

Another juror selected said that her primary news source is the Fox News Channel, while another said she doesn't watch the news because it upsets her.

At least two of the jurors picked responded during the proceeding that they would rather not sit on the panel.

The trial will begin at 3:15 p.m. Judge Ebert said he expects to get all three opening arguments in today.

Jury Selection Stalemate?

After several minutes of the defense and prosecution passing a sheet of paper back and forth as they try to agree on a jury list, Judge Ebert has taken the attorneys out of the room for a conference.

Morgan Asks Jury Pool About Publicity

Stephen Morgan, attorney for former Assembly aide Sherry Schultz, focused his questioning of potential jurors on media coverage.

Several jurors said they had encountered no pre-trial publicity of the case. One said she recently moved to Wisconsin from another state, another said she didn't own a TV.

Another potential juror said she didn't watch the news because it upsets her, while another said she hadn't seen publicity about Jensen or Schultz because she mainly watches Fox News Channel, which carries primarily national news stories.

Morgan also made points about the political nature of the upcoming testimony. "Does anyone believe that in that big granite building in the middle of the square, that they don't talk politics?" he asked.

"Is anyone bothered that political junkies are going to come into the courtroom to testify?"

After Morgan finished, Judge Ebert said that the 27-member panel would be narrrowed to 15 - a 12-person jury with three alternates. He also said after the jury is impaneled, there will be a brief lunch break, and then Ebert hopes to accomplish some work on the case yet today.

Meyer Interested in Political, Campaign Experience and Attitudes

In a political hotbed like Madison, it would be difficult to get a jury pool that's not aware of government and politics.

Not only have at least a half dozen current or former government employees been identified among the first 27 potential jurors singled out from the pool, but several have mentioned under questioning from Jensen attorney Stephen Meyer that they are politically active.

One man said he worked on U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold's campaign.

"Do you think campaigning is an important part of the process?" Meyer asked.

"I feel it's really the only time people speak their minds on the issues," replied the potential juror.

The potential juror later said bluntly, "I really have very little respect towards Republicans." The man said, however, that he knew very little about the case. He was the first from the pool to be excused.

Another woman said she helped out with the campaign of former state Rep. and PSC chairwoman Mary Lou Munts. "Who's going to vote for you if they don't know you're out there?" replied the woman when Meyer asked about her attitude toward campaigns.

Asked whether she thought being on the jury would allow her to accomplish change in the political system, the juror answered, "Yes."

One juror said he believed abuse of power was rampant in Madison. "I think there's corruption in government from the state to the highest levels," he said. "It doesn't get any better." The juror mentioned the Chvala conviction specifically, but said he didn't believe the Chvala and Jensen cases were connected. He also remains in the pool.

Still another juror said he favors public financing for campaigns. "To obtain higher office, large sums of money are needed and those contributions often come with strings attached," said the man. "This certainly isn't the first and only time indiscretion was possibly used."

All these jurors remain in the pool, at least for now.

Several jurors also said they have written issue letters to lawmakers.

Blanchard Questioning

DA Brian Blanchard questioning of the jury pool centered around work histories, attitudes toward campaign finance, and general attitudes toward law enforcement and the judicial system.

Blanchard also asked one juror who had said he worked for the Dept. of Military Affairs if he knew John Scocos, the Dept. of Veteran Affairs Secretary and a potential witness in the case. The man said he didn't know Scocos.

Another man, who works for the state Dept. of Agriculture, said he knew witnesses Charlene Rodriguez and Matt Sande. Rodriguez is an aide to Rep. David Ward, who has written ag bills in the Legilature. The juror knew Sande because he serves on the Cambridge Village Board with him.

Jensen's attorney Stephen Meyer has begun his questioning of the jurors.

Potential Jurors Say They Saw News Coverage of Jensen Case

Judge Ebert is questioning the jury pool about any connections to the defendants, or the attorneys.

To begin the process, 27 potential jurors were herded together as initial selection begins. Of the first 27 singled out, at least three said they worked for a state agency. Another said she worked as an Assembly aide for about six months in 1972.

In addition to questions about familiarity with the defendants, Ebert also asked about exposure to pre-trial publicity. About 10 of the jurors raised their hands when asked whether they'd seen pre-trial publicity, most responding that they had merely seen headlines or pictures.

One juror said she knew that Jensen was "accused of lobbying" and "using time when he should have been working for the state for as campaign time."

Another said she knew that Jensen has asked for a change of venue.

All the jurors who had seen the news accounts said they could be impartial despite the media exposure.

Ebert also asked the jurors whether they consider themselves to be "political junkies." One raised her hand. "I feel it is our duty to pay attention to what's going on in society. I'm a taxpayer ... it affects my life."

Ebert asked whether the woman tends to prefer one political party over another, and she said yes, but added it would not affect her impartiality.

Seven other potential jurors were dismissed from the pool prior to questioning beginning.

Jury Selection Begins

Judge Steven Ebert told potential jurors to expect long days ahead during the trial of former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen.

"The trial was originally scheduled for three weeks," Ebert said. "I don't know whether this trial will go the full three weeks, but it could."

Ebert said the trial will proceed each day at 8:30 a.m. and will usually wrap up around 5-5:30 p.m.

The attorneys were introduced, and Jensen attorney Stephen Meyer made a gesture as he introduced his client. "It is my privilege to introduce my client Scott Jensen," he said.

Jensen, dressed in a gray suit, light blue shirt and dark blue tie, looked alert and eager as instructions and the charges were read to the jury pool.

Meyer Wants 27 Jurors Tossed for Bias Prior to Jury Selection

In a final pre-trial motion hearing this morning, Scott Jensen's attorney Stephen Meyer moved to strike 27 jurors based on answers to the juror questionnaire.

Jury selection was slated to begin at nine, but was delayed by the last-minute hearing.

Meyer said the jurors he wanted stricken "indicated they hold either Republicans in complete contempt or distrust or believe all politicians are liars."

Meyer said one juror wrote in the questionnaire that Assembly Speaker "John Gard was a blank-blank-blank."

"I remember that," replied Judge Steven Ebert, but he said he was going to allow the jurors to remain in the pool for now.

The attorneys will try to whittle down the jury pool today. In all, 135 Dane County residents were summoned for duty. Three dropped out last week due to illness or travel plans, and seven more didn't show up this morning, according to the jury clerk.

Ebert has indicated to court officials that if jury selection goes smoothly, opening arguments could occur this afternoon. According to court officials late yesterday, Ebert says he does not expect jury selection to last all day and that he plans to start opening statements soon after he has a jury, as early as this afternoon.

Greg Bump
JR Ross

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