Former Lake County Recorder Michael B. Brown has hired an attorney to defend him against a Wisconsin felony charge for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, a crime punishable by up to 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Brown appeared Wednesday alongside his lawyer, Robert A. Kennedy, in the Circuit Court of the 9th Judicial Court in Forest County, Wisconsin, to complete his initial court appearance following Brown's arrest last month.
During the brief court session, Kennedy waived the formal reading of the charges against Brown and Judge Leon Stenz set Brown's preliminary hearing for 2 p.m. May 26. Stenz also agreed to allow Brown to remain free while his case is pending.
Brown's court hearings are being conducted through videoconferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to court records, Brown was pulled over at 12:20 a.m. March 15 while driving with only one headlight on State Highway 32 through the town of Wabeno, Wisconsin, approximately 50 miles south of Brown's new home in Iron River, Michigan, which is located toward the western end of the Upper Peninsula.
A police search of Brown's vehicle found a glass Ball jar with 10.6 grams of a green leafy substance that later tested positive for marijuana. He also had in his vehicle two digital scales with green plant residue, an opened box of 100 plastic sandwich bags, a package of organic hemp rolling papers, and $2,840 cash in $100 and $20 bills, court records show.
Brown, 37, was booked in the Forest County Jail. He paid a $2,000 cash bond March 16 to be released, according to court records.
The Democrat served as Lake County recorder from 2013 to 2020. Brown's tenure was marred by rampant, unexplained absenteeism from his office in the Lake County Government Center and a 2018 sexual harassment settlement that cost county taxpayers $185,000.
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