Friday, August 17, 2012

Walkergate: Tim Russell, The Wild Card

Back in the day, Perry Mason was a very popular drama. A great part of its popularity was due to the fact that the good guys always won, justice was always served, and there were some great plot twists.

Walkergate, if made into a show, would be a top-rated show as well. Especially with the twists that come from Tim Russell's case.

Tim Russell, as the gentle reader is well aware, was a lifelong, very close friend to Scott Walker. Not only did Russell work for Walker on his campaigns, but also for him Walker as a Milwaukee County employee. Sometimes he did both jobs at the same time.

Russell is currently facing trial for embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from a veterans fund as well as a couple of minor campaign funds. On top of that, he is also being actively investigated for his role in the illegal campaigning which was going on with alarming alacrity in Walker's county executive office.

His case already has had a lot of twists and turns. Most notably is the revolving door on his lawyers. Russell also has used his attorneys to drop some bombs of his own on Walker, such as revealing that Walker had been stonewalling the investigation for years.

Russell has gone through four attorneys already and is currently working with his fifth one, Parker C. Mathers.

Russell was back in court with Attorney Mathers on Thursday. And if one was hoping for some more breathtaking twists and turns, this episode surely did not disappoint anyone.

For months, I've been questioning how Russell could afford all of these attorneys. Especially with ones like Michael Maistelman, who is one of the top attorneys in the state and draws a fee which represents that fact. Dan Bice also indicated that Russell was having money troubles.

And sure enough, proof positive came out of Thursday's hearing:
A new lawyer for Timothy Russell – the former aide to Gov. Scott Walker who’s accused of embezzling more than $20,000 from a veterans group – was appointed for him by the state public defender’s office.

The move indicates Russell was likely broke or close to it. He lost his West Allis home to foreclosure last year.
Think about this for a minute or three.

Russell is facing pretty hefty embezzlement charges and the evidence looks pretty damn overwhelming. He is also facing the very strong possibility of facing even more felony charges and the evidence for those charges are even more damning than the evidence for the embezzlement charges.

And now he is broke and is dependent on a taxpayer-funded public defender. This means that, unlike Kelly Rindfleisch and her well-paid private attorney, Mathers isn't going to be interested in stringing the case along. He will want the most expedient resolution to the case which defends his client's rights.

Or in other words, the possibility of a plea bargain, which was all but lost when Russell's previous attorney, Dennis Krueger started pulling shenanigans, is not only back, but more likely than ever.

This fact is even recognized by the Honorable David Hansher, the judge presiding over the case, who allowed for this window as well as gave Attorney Mathers some hard advise:
Hansher said Thursday Mathers would have until Aug. 31 to seek to file any new motions in the case. Hansher warned Mathers that there had already been “tons of motions filed, some by (Russell’s) previous counsel that I considered frivolous.”

Hansher told lawyers in Russell’s case they should present any potential plea deal by Nov. 2. Russell’s trial is scheduled to start Dec. 3.
With Judge Hansher getting tired of all the delays in this case, and rightfully so, and a public defender who is a good but pragmatic lawyer, there is a good shot that Russell will be settling for a plea bargain much like Darlene Wink did.

If Russell has any sense of self-preservation and self-respect left, that is exactly what he will do.

Ironically, Walker has told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he is not concerned about the John Doe. Considering his megalomania, he just might be telling the truth. He obviously feels that he is above the law and will flaunt this any chance he gets.

But if he had any sense of self-preservation or any common sense, he would be more than scared. He should be terrified. After all, we all know that when it comes to Walker, there will be more. There is always more.

In fact, unless I miss my guess, Walkergate could still have national implications.

So don't put the popcorn away yet. In fact, you might want to get a second bucket. This could prove to be most entertaining.


  1. and the union whiners just keep on acting like the spoiled little brats they are. Get over the people of Wisconsin are tired of you lazy over paid under worked government crybabies, we told you after we kicked your ass in the recall election the GOOD people of Wisconsin are tired of your baby tantrums now go sit down and let the adults take care of things, we will let you know when we want to hear from you children again your bully tactics no longer work on us.

    1. Wow, that was a really unintelligent response. I feel sorry for you WATF.

    2. We other Wisconsinites are sick of folks like you who are smug and self entitled and think Walker won by a landslide ...he didn' out of two voters agree to disagree with him on a number of levels and issues. Governor Dum Dum, where is this huge cascade of jobs that you promised would show up after your election?What it boils down to WATF is he lied and continues to lie and people like you are drinking the kool-aid and using the same old tired and untrue talking points to further his decimation of our good state.Go troll the Romney page where you belong...

    3. Anonymous at 9:14,

      WATFist is not smug or entitled. He is silly. He thinks elections are "baby tantrums". He thinks he is an adult and the rest of the population are children. He is ridiculous. He says he doesn't want to hear from "you children" and I suppose he means "over paid under worked government crybabies". That sounds like he is talking about the people who have been charged with crimes, or maybe he means the whole state, except himself and his friends. At any rate, he is not a genius, at least based on his rant. Maybe he is a friend of one of these characters, but since he is just name-calling, I suspect he is just paid to post nonsense or maybe he was drunk.

    4. WATF is an emotionally unstable little troll who mistakes justice for being a union conspiracies.

    5. He also has no idea how to use correct grammar or punctuation, which speaks to his level of intelligence...

  2. Mr. Mathers is not a public defender. He is a private attorney being paid by the hour (40 bucks per) by the Public Defender's office.

    Any decision to plead belongs to Russell, and if it couldn't happen with the other lawyers there is no reason to suspect it will now that Doogie Howser works for him.

    Finally your suggestion that Maistleman is a top lawyer must be couched in the past tense. After all, it was his firm that threw Cimpl off the case (moronic), filed the frivolous motions, and probably gets hit with bar charges for the whole Krueger nonsense. Maistleman tried to punch outside his grade and he got clobbered

    1. Why is the Public Defender's office paying him? Is that how this usually works? Does that mean that after allegedly working for Walker's campaign on the taxes paid by Milwuakee County residents, it is now Milwaukee County residents who are paying for his defense?

      This is from the party that says "Taxed Enough Already"?

    2. This is actually common in criminal cases. Defendants who are unable to pay for private representation are constitutionally guaranteed legal representation. This is handled through the public defenders office. Due to the large number of cases the public defenders office handles, they don't have enough staff attorneys to represent all the defendants. They assign the cases to other private bar attorneys and reimburse them $40 an hour. They don't make a lot of money off of those cases, and generally try to resolve them quickly. While the decision to plea bargain is ultimately the defendant's, attorneys will often counsel their clients to plea.

    3. Thank you for the information. Sorry to be so clueless about legal matters. Thank you again for the detailed reply.

  3. I hope the other shoe drops soon, really sick of Governor mouth breather and his apologist neanderthal supporters like Wis against the Fist.

  4. @WATF: You can't possibly be an adult. My 6th grader can do better than your illiterate rant. Want lessons?

  5. But, not that rancid-tasting Rojos Popcorn.

  6. An update on the Walker Five court dates:

    Tim Russell:
    10-22-2012 Final pre-trial
    12-03-2012 Jury trial

    Kelly Rindfleisch:
    08-21-2012 Motion hearing
    10-15-2012 Jury trial

    Darlene Wink:
    11-21-2012 Sentencing hearing

    Brian Pierick:
    09-27-2012 Motion hearing
    12-03-2012 Jury status hearing
    12-11-2012 Jury trial

    Kevin Kavanaugh:
    09-04-2012 Final pre-trial
    10-08-2012 Jury trial

    So, we have Kavanaugh's and Rindfleisch's trials prior to the election.