Madison: In October of 2002, three lawmakers and an aide were charged with felonies for misconduct in office. Wednesday, a Supreme Court ruling on the caucus scandals clears the way for the case to finally go to trial.
In a 4–0 decision the Wisconsin Supreme Court declared the state has the authority to charge lawmakers with misconduct in office. It may have been the final legal hurdle in bringing three lawmakers and a staffer to trial.
Madison Defense Attorney Stephen Hurley has been following this case since the start as an interested neutral observer. "The court has essentially said we can let this go forward. The case is on a trial track now."
Here are the accused:
The Supreme Court split 2–2 on another decision, whether the four had fair warning their actions could result in felony charges.
Hurley says that shows the appeals weren't just a stalling tactic. "So I don't think one can look at these issues and say they were at all frivolous."
Hurley says we could see a trial by this summer. "My hunch is the case has been pending for so long that it's going to move swiftly."
The charges are a result of a year long investigation into illegal fundraising, kick backs and dirty politics.
But Hurley says you shouldn't make your mind up yet. "I don't think the public has seen both sides of all the facts yet. And that's what the trial is going to show us–what are both sides on these facts? Is there a defense here based on the facts that's got some meat to it?"
Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard released a statement Wednesday saying he is looking forward to seeing this case resolved as soon as possible.