Two-year prison term recommended for Walker aide
MILWAUKEE A close associate of Gov. Scott Walker who was convicted of stealing more than $20,000 from a nonprofit group deserves to spend two years in prison, a Milwaukee County prosecutor recommended last week.
Timothy D. Russell pleaded guilty in November to felony theft, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. While first-time offenders are often sentenced to probation for property crimes such as theft, prosecutors said Russell should be held to a higher standard because he was a public official who violated the community's trust.
"This crime reflects moral depravity," Bruce Landgraf, an assistant district attorney, wrote in a sentencing memorandum Thursday.
Most of the money Russell was accused of stealing came from the account of the Heritage Guard Preservation Society, a nonprofit group that organizes outings for veterans to the Milwaukee County Zoo. Russell was appointed to lead the group by Walker, in whose administration Russell worked while Walker was the Milwaukee County executive from 2002 to 2010.
Russell used his position to steal at least $21,000 from the group in 2009 and 2010, the criminal complaint said. He spent the money on vacations to Hawaii and the Caribbean and on a trip to Atlanta to meet GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain.
Russell is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday morning. His attorney, Parker Mathers, told The Associated Press he planned to file his own sentencing recommendation Friday afternoon.
"We'll be asking for probation," he told AP. He declined to say what length of time he would recommend.