MILWAUKEE – Five Democratic campaign staffers — including the sons of a congresswoman and a former city official — were ordered Tuesday to stand trial for allegedly vandalizing Republican get-out-the-vote vans on Election Day.
The five are accused of slashing the tires of 25 vans rented by the state GOP to drive voters and monitors to the polls. The felony charge carries a maximum punishment of 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Arraignment was set for March 4.
At a preliminary hearing, Levar Stoney and Opel Simmons, two Democratic presidential campaign workers sent to Wisconsin in the final weeks of the campaign, testified they were in the Milwaukee headquarters when the five left just after 3 a.m. Election Day and returned shortly after.
"They seemed to be excited, excitable, kind of gleeful, laughing and kind of joking," Simmons said.
Stoney said Michael Pratt (search), the former acting mayor's son, talked about slashing a couple of tires, and Moore's son, Sowande Omokunde, also talked about the vandalism. He said at least one had a knife; he could not recall which one.
Defense attorneys suggested Stoney and Simmons were also part of an alleged plan to plaster the GOP office and property with Kerry-Edwards (search) signs and bumper stickers before polls opened. Prosecutors contend the five defendants came up with the tire-slashing plan after a security guard was posted at the GOP office.