Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hurtgen Hearing Uneventful, Next Set for June 7

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago said both sides asked for more time to complete discovery at last week's status hearing in the trial of former Gov. Thompson aide P. Nicholas Hurtgen.

In May 2005, Hurtgen, an executive with Bear Stearns in Chicago, was indicted on fraud charges for allegedly participating in a scheme to obtain multi-million dollar contracts for his business through construction kickbacks or other fraudulent deals.

The spokesman, Randall Samborn, said another status hearing has been set for June 7.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Foti: You Gotta Play the Cards You're Dealt

Former Assembly Majority Leader Steve Foti tells WisPolitics his testimony against former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen has not hurt their friendship and he didn't appeal his sentence because of time and money.

Foti, a lobbyist, is also working out details for Huber release during his 60-day jail sentence. The Oconomowoc Republican pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in January, avoiding a felony charge of misconduct in office.

"This isn't easy on anybody," Foti said. "You really find out who your friends and supporters are."

Foti was required by the plea to testify at the trial of his former colleague Jensen, who was convicted last month on three felonies and one misdemeanor count of misconduct in office.

Foti said it has not hurt their friendship. "Not at all," he said. "We're still friends. We still talk."

Jensen will be sentenced on May 16.

Asked why he didn't appeal the sentence by Dane County Judge Steven Ebert,
which was double the recommendation from prosecutor Brian Blanchard, Foti
said time and money were a consideration. The decision wasn't easy, he said, but summed it up by saying, "You gotta play the cards you're dealt, and these are the cards I've been dealt."

"It would cost me thousands of dollars and many months, by the time I'm
all done," Foti said. "And by the time it's over I'm only fighting about
30 days."

Foti said he asked the begin his sentence early so he could be out in time
for the summer months. "I wanted to move it up and get it going," he said.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Georgia Thompson Case Delayed Three Weeks

Georgia Thompson's federal trial on bid-rigging charges has been delayed to June 5. A filing in Milwaukee cites a conflict with another jury trial as the reason for pushing back the start date from May 15.

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Foti Will Go to Jail Easter Sunday

The lawyer for former Assembly Majority Leader Steve Foti
told WisPolitics today that the Oconomowoc will report to jail this Sunday
to begin serving a 60-day jail sentence.

Attorney Franklyn Gimbel said he advised Foti not to appeal the sentence,
which is twice what Dane County DA Brian Blanchard had recommended to Dane
County Judge Steven Ebert.

"I just don't believe there was a reasonable basis that anyone would say
the judge didn't have the power to do what he did," said Gimbel.

Foti weighed the advice and opted to begin the jail term, which he will
serve at the Dane County courthouse. "Some people talk about the length of
sentence being insignificant, but until you walk into a room and give up
your freedom for a day or an hour, it takes on a different perspective,"
said Gimbel, explaining the tough decision Foti faced.

Gimbel said he's still waiting to hear about a date for a restitution
hearing in the case.

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Chvala Law License Suspended

Former Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala's law license has been suspended by the state Supreme Court.

Said the Supreme Court in its brief order released late yesterday: ``This court finds that the two crimes of which Attorney Chvala was convicted, misconduct in public office and making a campaign contribution exceeding lawful limits as party to a crime, are serious crimes which reflect adversely on the attorney’s fitness to be licensed to practice law. The license of Attorney Chvala to practice law is summarily suspended effective immediately and until reinstated by this court.''

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