With his self-inflicted facial wounds apparently healed, former GOP campaign staffer Kyle Wood pled not guilty in Dane County Court Thursday to charges he obstructed police by faking an attack at his Madison home.
Wearing a light blue hoodie over a green dress shirt and tie, Wood appeared without an attorney. He declined to comment after his appearance about the facts of the case or whether he would seek legal representation.
Wood will likely have a final pretrial hearing in about eight weeks before Judge William Hanrahan. At that time the District Attorney's Office would have a plea agreement on the table for Wood to accept or reject. If accepted, the matter would proceed to a plea and sentencing hearing fairly quickly. If rejected, the case would be set for a trial.
If convicted of obstruction, Wood could be fined up to $10,000 or sentenced to prison for up to nine months.
According to the criminal complaint filed this week by the Dane County District Attorney's Office, Madison police officer Andrya Coutts responded to a call on Oct. 24 about a potential burglary or invasion at Wood's home. Wood told Coutts he had been attacked by a man who had entered his unlocked residence. Wood was bleeding and had visible cuts to his face.
Wood also told Coutts that he had been receiving harassing text messages for about two months.
Wood, 30, was working at the time for Chad Lee, the Republican candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat vacated by Tammy Baldwin. Lee's opponent was Mark Pocan, then a state representative, who is openly gay. Wood, who is gay, said he was targeted because of his sexual orientation and political affiliation.
After being transported to Meriter Hospital, Wood repeated his story about being attacked to Det. Michelle Reisterer.
On Oct. 29, Wood told Media Trackers, a conservative nonprofit funded by American Majority, which recruits and trains tea party candidates, that he had received harassing and lurid text messages from Pocan's husband. The online outlet ran a long blog post based on Wood's claims.
That same day Wood was interviewed again by Reisterer, who questioned him about inconsistencies in his story. Wood eventually recanted, according to the report, admitting that his injuries were self-inflicted.