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Senate candidate Lewis pleads not guilty to theft charge

September 29, 2021 GMT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Ald. Chantia Lewis, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor theft by fraud charge, one of five charges she faces for allegedly taking more than $20,000 in campaign funds and false travel reimbursements from the city.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Oct. 18. The remaining four counts are felonies and will be addressed at the hearing, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Lewis is free on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond.

Neither Lewis nor her attorneys commented before or after the brief hearing in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

Lewis is charged with misconduct in public office, embezzlement of more than $10,000, theft by fraud of less than $2,500, intentionally filing a false campaign finance report and intentionally accepting an illegal campaign finance disbursement.

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She is accused of taking $21,666 in campaign funds and false travel reimbursements from the city between 2016 and 2020.

Lewis was first elected to the Milwaukee City Council in 2016 and announced her candidacy for Senate in July.

Lewis is one of 11 Democratic candidates in the Senate race for the seat currently held by Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson. He has not said yet whether he will seek a third term.