Making a Murderer Attorney Found Not Guilty of Stalking Court Clerk

Jurors in Winnebago County, Wisconsin found Len Kachinsky not guilty of stalking his court manager Mandy Bartelt. Prosecutors said he crossed professional boundaries again and again, even after village officials intervened and told him to stop.

Kachinsky is best known as a former attorney of Brendan Dassey, who case was reviewed in the Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer. This trial has nothing to do with that.

Bartelt took the stand Thursday, tracing the relationship from its inception to disintegration. Bartelt testified that they knew each other when he was an attorney. When he stopped private practice and became the new Fox Crossing municipal judge, Kachinsky picked her to replace the outgoing court manager.

Everything started out well at first. Bartelt described him as “very nice to me,” and “quirky.” They had no issues. She and her mother became Facebook friends with him.

Kachinsky testified that they got along very well, at least at first.

As his defense mentioned in opening statements, the defendant had cancer. Bartelt said he took several months off for treatment after she started working for him, and she was happy to see him when he returned in February 2017.

Then things started getting more uncomfortable, she said. In one incident, she posted a picture of her husband and her on vacation. She said Kachinsky made an online comment about the couple being on a “second honeymoon at an undisclosed location.” Bartelt became uncomfortable because they were not on a second honeymoon, and coworkers asked her if she was having trouble with her husband.

Then, in April 2017, Bartelt’s mother attended a birthday party for her sons. Bartelt said that Kachinsky told her he could determine via Facebook that her mother was near her home.

She also told the court that Kachinsky asked her to participate in photo shoots at the courtroom. In once instance, he claimed his daughter wanted the pictures, not him, she said. In another, he said that the “Voights” (she didn’t know who these people were) wanted to come in and take photos on a court night.

Bartelt said she eventually got help from a village manager and a human resources official in telling Kachinsky his behavior was inappropriate and should stop. After the meeting, things did get better at first. The defendant promised to comply, and he wrote an email saying what he wouldn’t do in the future, she said.

Then Kachinsky started coming by just to watch what the employees were doing, she said. Bartelt claimed that he would observe anywhere from five to 45 minutes. In one incident, they went over something on her computer, and he began meowing. She pointed out that he had a stuffed cat on his desk, but insisted he was the one making the sounds with his mouth.

She described how she reached out to officials who then intervened, but Kachinsky refused to stop contacting her about personal matters. The defendant voiced frustration at having other employees mediate their interactions, and her giving him the “silent treatment,” according to testimony. He demanded a “normalization” of their relationship, she said. Kachinsky even invited her out to drinks so they could discuss their work relationship, she said.

Bartelt teared up on the stand when recounting an incident when they were alone in the office. He physically went over her desk, knocking over some of her items, including pictures of her children, she said.

“Are you afraid of me now?” he whispered, according to her testimony.

[Screengrab via WGBA-TV]

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