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Wisconsin judge to plead guilty to federal child pornography charges

Pending court approval, the judge’s plea agreement would resolve cases in state and federal court accusing him of uploading child pornography more than two dozen times using an online messaging app.

MADISON, Wis. (CN)  — A Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge charged in state and federal courts with multiple counts of possessing child pornography has agreed to plead guilty to the federal charges, according to a plea agreement approved by prosecutors and filed with the court on Wednesday.

Under the agreement, Brett Blomme, 38, would plead guilty to two felony counts of child pornography possession, forego his right to a jury trial and forfeit any property or assets connected to his crimes. Each count carries a mandatory minimum five-year prison sentence, five years of supervision and up to a $250,000 fine.

A criminal complaint against Blomme was first filed in Dane County Circuit Court in March, in which prosecutors said he used the messaging app Kik to upload pictures and videos of child pornography on 27 separate occasions in October and November 2020 under the username “dommasterbb,” registered using his personal Gmail address.

After Kik and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tipped off agents with the Wisconsin Department of Justice in February, an investigation led by the state DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation connected transactions of child pornography to multiple other email address, phone numbers and IP addresses, including those at Blomme and his husband's home in Cottage Grove, the Milwaukee home of Blomme’s friend and a Milwaukee County government building.

Blomme was arrested at his home in the Madison suburb in mid-March and charged in state court with seven felony counts of possession of child pornography, each of which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years initial confinement and up to $100,000 fines and imprisonment of no more than 25 years, or both. He is currently incarcerated at the Sauk County Jail in Baraboo, according to court records.

The judge was indicted in federal court in May before he and his lawyer, Madison-based criminal defense attorney Christopher Van Wagner, signed the plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin on Monday. The agreement acknowledges that Blomme used his iPhone to distribute sexually explicit images of children on the Kik app as described in the indictment.

The plea agreement, which resolves all federal and state charges, does not include any discussion of sentencing or restitution, both of which remain to be determined by the court. Chief U.S. District Judge James Peterson, who has presided over Blomme’s federal case, has not yet scheduled a plea hearing or sentencing hearing .

In a phone interview on Wednesday, Van Wagner emphasized that his client "has signed a plea letter because he intends to plead guilty” in the interest of admitting his guilt and resolving the matter as soon as possible, adding that he and his client would have it known that “nobody is as bad as their worst decision, nor as good as their best success.”

Blomme was elected to the bench in 2020 after defeating incumbent Judge Paul Dedinsky, an appointee of former Republican Governor Scott Walker. After taking office last August, Blomme worked in children’s court at the Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa.

He previously served on Milwaukee’s board of zoning appeals upon appointment by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who also backed Blomme in his recent judicial election. Blomme was formerly the president and CEO of the Cream City Foundation, a local organization that mobilizes philanthropy to provide scholarships and other resources for the LGBTQ+ community.

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