MILWAUKEE -- Timothy Russell, a former aide to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will stand trial on three felony charges. The charges stem from a John Doe investigation that so far, has resulted in three people indicted.
Russell was Walker's deputy chief of staff when Walker was Milwaukee County Executive. Now, Russell is accused of taking money from a fundraiser for veterans during his tenure.
Milwaukee County Court Commissioner Barry Slagle said Monday there is enough evidence to send this case to trial, after hearing the evidence against Russell. Russell is accused of taking more than $20,000 from Operation Freedom, an annual fundraising event for veterans and their families, which Russell coordinated.
An investigator testified about bank statements recording numerous transfers of money. "The transfer out ticket dated November 24th, 2011 in the name of HGPS/Operation Freedom from account ending 4102 is for $5,000 into the personal account of Mr. Russell,"
Operation Freedom was a thank you event for veterans, held at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Jim Tietjen served as a steering committee member for Operation Freedom. He says he never knew Russell's HGPS was financially connected to Operation Freedom. HGPS stands for Heritage Guard Preservation Society. "Prior to the actions of the John Doe, I knew nothing of the acronym," Tietjen said.
Russell is also accused of taking money from two county supervisor candidates - one of them being Chris Kujawa. Russell had acted as a campaign advisor for Kujawa. In court Monday, Kujawa testified that he never consented to Russell's transfer of $3,000 into Russell's personal account.
Russell's attorney asked the court commissioner to change the charges against Russell, asking that the felonies be changed to misdemeanors, but the judge denied that request.
Russell will be back in court in February.
Another former county staffer also faces felony charges. Kevin Kavanaugh is accused of taking $42,000 from Operation Freedom. Kavanaugh's case will be going to trial, after he waived his preliminary hearing.
Russell's domestic partner, Brian Pierick is accused of child enticement, based on computer evidence found during the John Doe investigation into Russell.