Former State Senator Chuck Chvala Pleads Guilty to Two Felonies

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Madison; Former State Senator Chuck Chvala looked very relaxed as he walked into the Dane County Courtroom Tuesday, talking and even laughing with his lawyers.

Inside Chvala was all business, as prosecuting attorney David Feiss read off the terms of the plea agreement.

Chvala was charged with 19 felonies in relation to the caucus scandals, mostly for misconduct in office and making and extorting illegal campaign contributions while he was the Senate Majority Leader from 1997 to 2000.

As part of the deal, Chvala agreed to plead guilty to two felonies, and the other 17 were dismissed.

Judge David Flanagan read asked for the plea. "With regard to count 9, you are charged with misconduct in public office as party to the crime by directing Senate Democratic caucus employees to do campaign work. How do you wish to plead to that charge?"

"Guilty, your honor," Chvala responded.

Chvala also pleaded guilty to count 11, making an illegal campaign contribution.

The prosecution asked for a stayed sentence, probation and a fine of $5,500. "The court (will) then place the defendant on probation for 2 years. As conditions of that probation the state will recommend a sentence to the Dane County Jail of 6 months," says Feiss.

Chvala won't be sentenced until early December and Judge David Flanagan will have the ability to issue a stronger penalty than recommended.

Chvala will be hoping to avoid jail altogether. "We are going to be making a request for community service and we want to give that a thoughtful request as to the various agencies that he could use and where he could do the community service," says defense attorney James Olson.

Even though Chvala's plea agreement has been accepted the case isn't closed. Judge Flanagan said if he feels prison time is appropriate he'll allow Chvala to withdraw his plea and go to trial.