Friday, June 22, 2007

Prosecutors detail ten more charges against McGee

Prosecutors detailed 10 new charges against Milwaukee Ald. Michael McGee Jr. in court today on top of the previous counts for an alleged shakedown and beating plots filed against him.

The new charges related to a John Doe investigation into the recall election he survived earlier this year include a felony charge of making a false statement to an election official, two felony counts of election bribery, one felony count of being party to the crime of election bribery, one felony count of filing a false campaign finance report, a misdemeanor count of electioneering, one misdemeanor count of theft by a bailee and three misdemeanor counts of criminal contempt.

Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm said all of the charges are interrelated and show "a deliberate pattern on Mr. McGee's part to subvert the electoral, and quite frankly, the judicial process in the course of his conduct."

McGee's attorney, Glenn Givens, argued this morning that the prosecution’s complaint failed to provide enough evidence to warrant charges. Judge Dennis P. Moroney disagreed, denying Givens' motion to dismiss on all counts.

The felony counts each carry a maximum of three years, six months in prison, two years of which can be served on probation, along with fines up to $10,000. The misdemeanor penalties vary and include fines of less than $10,000 and jail sentences of less than a year.

Because the charges are still under seal, details are scant. But according to statements by the defense and prosecution this morning:

- The false statement charge stems from McGee telling Milwaukee election commissioners during a hearing on the recall attempt against him that he was misled into signing his own recall petition. Chisholm said in court this morning that witnesses testified that McGee signed the petition as an "act of bravado."

- The election bribery charges stem from an alleged scheme to pay people to vote during the recall. Two others are facing similar charges.

- The electioneering count is due to McGee showing up to a polling place on election day with his own campaign literature. Givens said McGee was simply there to pick somebody up, and when he was asked by an election inspector to hand over the materials, he did. McGee was not on the ballot.

- The theft and campaign finance reporting charges relate to checks allegedly intended for the campaign being cashed at a grocery store and never recorded in finance reports.

- McGee is accused of contempt for allegedly revealing information about the substance of John Doe investigation following his testimony during that investigation. Givens said the conversations were just McGee "blowing off steam" and didn't reveal substantive details of the testimony.

"You can draw all the reasonable inferences you want," Givens said about the prosecution's account, "but you need some facts to draw those reasonable inferences from; and there are none."

Chisholm argued, however, that those conversations were substantive, and were made immediately following an interview with McGee in the investigation that clued McGee in that he was the focus of the investigation that he originally initiated by filing a complaint against his recall opponent, ViAnna Jordan.

See the charges: http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/070622McGeeComplaint.pdf

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