Michael O’Donnell pleads not guilty to federal charges

By Rachel Skytta

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Update 2: p.m. Wednesday, May 9:

Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell pleaded not guilty to 12 counts against him Wednesday afternoon in federal court.

A federal indictment unsealed Friday alleges O’Donnell took money from his campaign accounts to put into his personal account and to give to his friends and covered it up by making false reports electronically to the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission.

O’Donnell is charged with five counts of wire fraud, five counts of bank fraud and two counts of money laundering.

In court Wednesday, the judge imposed a $5,000 unsecured bond. As part of the condition, O’Donnell must forfeit his passport, an obligation the judge says he already fulfilled.

O’Donnell says he’s had the opportunity to look at the indictment detailing the charges against him, understands what the government is alleging and the potential penalties associated with the crimes for which he’s accused.

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Factfinder 12 continues to push for information on the federal charges against Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell.

O’Donnell was indicted on charges of fraud and money laundering. He’s set to make his first appearance in court Wednesday. He confirmed to Factfinder 12 he will be at the regular county commission meeting before his court appearance.

We tracked down O’Donnell as he was coming and going from his office at the Sedgwick County Courthouse. He said he couldn’t comment, and asked that we contact his attorney.

O’Donnell did confirm he plans to be at the next county commission meeting. Factfinder 12 also asked if he’s prepared to answer questions after the meeting.

“I do not know. It is up to my attorney to tell me. But yeah, I’ll definitely be there tomorrow.” said O’Donnell.

We also asked if he wanted to say anything to his constituents who are wondering what will happen to his district.

“We’ll know more later this week.”

The federal indictment unsealed Friday says O’Donnell transferred money from his campaign accounts to his personal account. It says he wrote checks to other people as campaign expenditures, then had those people give the money back and deposited it into his personal account.

Commissioner Richard Ranzau has already called for O’Donnell’s resignation. It’s unclear if other commissioners plan to bring up the charges against O’Donnell at Wednesday’s meeting. That meeting starts at 9 a.m. O’Donnell will be in federal court at 1:30 p.m.