Scott Jensen Sentenced To 15 Months in Prison in Caucus Scandal

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Madison: The last three defendants in the caucus scandal learned their fates Tuesday.

Three defendants, three different reactions today at the sentencing hearings at the courthouse. One person cried, one person smiled and one person filed an appeal.

"This entire case has aroused a great deal of anger and it has been an embarrassment to the state of Wisconsin," said Judge Steven Ebert at the beginning of the day.

The three defendants were sentenced at different times, so they all got to hear a little different version of Judge Ebert's wrath over their actions in the Caucus Scandal. "What occurred was a little more than common thievery which was elevated to a higher plane," Ebert said later.

A tearful Bonnie Ladwig was first. She was the third most powerful Assembly Republican when the scandal broke. She pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor ethics violation last December.

"This has been the worst four years of my life. I've never been through anything like this and I wouldn't wish it on anyone," Ladwig said.

Judge Ebert acknowledged her cooperation while sentencing Ladwig to 30 days of home detention with electronic monitoring.

Sherry Schultz was next. She was convicted of felony misconduct in office. As a staffer at the Capitol she was the chief fundraiser for Republicans candidates.

Schultz smiled for the first time in this case after Judge Ebert only gave her 5 years of probation with 4 months of home detention and electronic monitoring.

The Judge saved most of his comments for Scott Jensen. "I believe what you did was a great wrong to the citizens of this state."

Jensen was convicted of three felonies and a misdemeanor for misconduct in office. As Assembly Speaker he directed state employees to illegally perform campaign work on state time.

"You used your power and your influence to run an illegal campaign funding operation," said Ebert.

Jensen's attorney Stephen Meyer argued losing his office was punishment enough. "There is no need to imprison Mr. Jensen to send a message to the wrongfulness of his conduct."

But Judge Ebert says he believed Jensen needed prison time. "The total length of the sentence is five years. The amount of actual confinement is 15 months. Forty–five months of extended supervision will be imposed."

Scott Jensen hopes he will never serve those 15 months in prison. He's already appealed his conviction, nd he has also asked to remain free on bond during that appeal.

The judge will rule on that on July 14th, the day before he is due to report to prison.