A former top aide to governor Scott Walker was taken out of a courtroom in handcuffs today, after being sentenced to two years in prison. It's the latest development in the Milwaukee 'John Doe' probe — the sentencing of longtime Republican activist Tim Russell.
Russell was the number-three person in Walker's office in 2010, when now-governor Walker was Milwaukee County executive. Russell recently plead guilty to stealing about $20,000 from a veterans group that Walker had chosen Russell to lead. At Russell's sentencing, he asked circuit judge David Hansher to only order probation. Russell tearfully said he'll never put the case behind him. “I will need to work actively for the rest of my life to try to rebuild the trust that others once had in me, both friends and family. I can and will take responsibility and deal with the wounds that I have caused to myself, but I will have to live the rest of my life trying to make up for the wounds I have caused to others.”
Judge Hansher says he doesn't think Russell is sorry about what he did. “Based upon the statements in a pre-sentence report, and what you have said today, that there's absolutely no true regret, remorse or repentence. I find that you don't even have any shame.”
Hansher says Russell used some of the stolen funds for expensive vacations or political purposes. Those purposes included visiting the campaign headquarters of GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, and paying off debts for registering websites for Scott Walker's 2010 campaign for governor.
Hansher sentenced Russell to the two years in prison prosecutors had urged for him. The judge went beyond a prosecution recommendation and put Russell on probation for five years, to try to make sure the veterans' group is fully paid back.