Trial for former Walker staffer Kevin Kavanaugh underway

CREATED Oct. 8, 2012 - UPDATED: Oct. 8, 2012

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  • Lacey Crisp reports Video by wtmj.com

    video
  • Lacey Crisp reports Video by wtmj.com

    video

MILWAUKEE- The trial for a former aide to Scott Walker when he was Milwaukee County's executive has begun.

Kevin Kavanaugh faces five felonies following accusations that he stole tens of thousands of dollars from a charity that helps military families.

Prosecutors say Kavanaugh stole more than $42,000 in donations to "Operation Freedom," meant for families of U.S. troops killed or wounded overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Kavanaugh was appointed to the Milwaukee County Veterans Service Commission by Scott Walker, who was Milwaukee's County executive at the time.
 
Milwaukee's District Attorney's Office claims Kavanaugh stole the money because he was in serious debt.

"He's in a ton of credit card debt," argues Assistant District Attorney Kurt Benkley. 

But defense attorneys claim Kavanaugh just wasn't good at his job.
 
"He is a lousy bookkeeper," claims Kavanaugh's defense attorney Chris Hartley.  "There is no doubt in his mind that he's a lousy bookkeeper, but that's not what he's on trial for."
 
Harltey argues Kavanaugh did his best to help vets, not steal from them.

"You are going to hear how Kevin Kavanaugh distributed cash to vets on a regular basis," says Hartley.

If convicted on all charges, Kavanaugh faces a possible sentence of more than 30 years in prison.