Milwaukee leaders hope for 'quick resolution' to Ald. Lewis embezzlement case, but speedy end may be unlikely

NOW: Milwaukee leaders hope for ’quick resolution’ to Ald. Lewis embezzlement case, but speedy end may be unlikely

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- City leaders are concerned about the effect embezzlement and fraud allegations against Alderwoman Chantia Lewis may have on the work of the Common Council as it is set to consider major items this fall.

"I want us to be able to deal with issues like the budget, the American Recovery Plan," Mayor Tom Barrett told CBS 58 in an interview. "And I think it's best for everyone that we get this resolved quickly."

Barrett said Lewis should be considered innocent until proven guilty but admits the accusations hurt public trust in City Hall.

"This puts a cloud over her, this puts a cloud over the council, it puts a cloud over the city," Barrett said.

Barrett was asked if Ald. Lewis' resignation is a resolution that should be considered.

"I think that's obviously something she's going to have to talk to her attorneys to see where it is," Barrett replied. "Initial comments centered on their defense, but as the case develops, which again I hope is done rather quickly, that there will be a clear picture for that."

But Lewis' defense team says that is not being considered.

"She has no intentions of resigning or giving up her seat," attorney Jason Luczak said.

Luczak said Lewis intends to keep working at City Hall even after Common Council President Cavalier Johnson removed Lewis from her committee seats.

"We think that's a mistake and rush to judgement," Luczak said.

While there's an understanding for a speedy end to the case, Lewis' attorneys said that is unlikely because of a backlog of cases and the amount of filing and motions they intend to move ahead with.

"Obviously we would like to have a quick resolution," Luczak said. "But that's not going to be the reality of the situation."

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