MILWAUKEE — Prosecutors involved in a secret investigation involving Gov. Scott Walker's former staffers in the Milwaukee County executive's office were granted a two-month postponement Tuesday in the sentencing of a one-time Walker aide.
Darlene J. Wink, 61, had pleaded guilty in February to working on Walker's gubernatorial campaign on county time. As part of the plea deal, she agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in ongoing investigations of other associates close to Walker.
She was to be sentenced Tuesday, but Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf told the judge the other investigations weren't yet closed. He asked for a delay "as long out as perhaps the court's calendar will accommodate."
Landgraf and Wink's defense attorney, Peter Wolff, had earlier submitted a joint recommendation seeking a postponement. Judge Daniel Konkol agreed to delay the sentencing until July 17.
Wink is one of five people charged in the so-called John Doe investigation, and the only one who has been convicted. She admitted that she helped coordinate fundraising events for Walker's 2010 run for governor while she was supposed to be doing her job as a constituent-services coordinator.
The wide-ranging investigation has resulted in charges against four other Walker aides and associates, on allegations ranging from embezzlement to campaigning on county time. Walker has not been charged, and his campaign has said he's not a target of the investigation.
However, the Republican governor, who faces a recall election in three weeks, has set up a legal defense fund in connection with the secret probe. The move is allowed only for officeholders who have been charged or are being investigated for election or campaign violations, but Walker's campaign has declined to say which circumstances apply.
Walker's Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, is trying to turn Walker's silence into a campaign issue. Barrett wrote a letter to Walker on Tuesday saying the best way for him to end the questions was to be forthcoming with answers.
Walker's campaign responded that Barrett was trying to distract voters from his own poor record of job creation and his refusal to offer his own budget plan.
It's not clear how long the secret investigation will last. John Doe investigations are conducted in secret, and prosecutors have steadfastly refused to comment.
Landgraf's request for a generous delay in sentencing might suggest that the investigation still has a ways to go. The most recent development was the granting of immunity to a 12th witness last week, the first such allocation since April 2011.
Wolff, Wink's defense attorney, said his client was frustrated that her case was still lingering but added that she does want to cooperate with prosecutors as promised.
The two misdemeanor charges to which she pleaded guilty carry a maximum combined penalty of one year in prison and a $2,000 fine. However, as part of the plea agreement, prosecutors won't recommend prison time. They may still seek any combination of probation, fines and restitution for the county salary she was paid while working on campaign material.