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Police chief allowed to plead 'no contest' to setting up Tea Party leader

CAMPBELL, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  A plea deal has been worked out in which a La Crosse area police chief can have an eventual conviction dropped for a flap with tea party conservatives. Town of Campbell Chief Tim Kelemen was charged yesterday with unlawful use of a computer. The plea bargain allows Kelemen to plead no contest, and avoid a conviction if gets counseling and performs 40 hours of community service.

Kelemen is accused of registering tea party leader Greg Luce for online gay dating and porno sites, after Luce reportedly told tea party supporters to harass Campbell's officers. That was after the group was told to pull an anti-Obama sign from a freeway overpass last year -- and Kelemen later convinced the town board to ban such signs to improve highway safety.

Both sides were hoping to resolve the case yesterday, but La Crosse County Circuit Judge Dale Pasell withdrew because he worked with Kelemen in the past. The chief's attorney, Jim Birnbaum, says they'll try to find another judge from outside La Crosse County. Birnbaum says the charge was not fair, considering the responses from the tea party supporters.

Chief Kelemen is on paid leave, and is free on a signature bond.

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