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The wife of former Sen. Rod Grams, R-Minn., was charged Thursday and will plead no-contest to a misdemeanor for allegedly sending e-mails in the 2000 campaign that were meant to discredit a Democratic Senate hopeful. Gunhus, 46, is a onetime top aide to Grams who married him shortly after the Republican senator lost his bid for re-election last year. “Chris will plead no contest to these charges (Friday) morning,” said her attorney, Doug Kelley, meaning Gunhus maintains her innocence but recognizes the state has a strong case. The charge carries a possible 90-day jail sentence and a fine ranging from $210 to $700. Kelley said prosecutors agreed in advance to recommend no jail time, but a fine will be left up to the court. “This recognizes that there is strong desire on her part to put everything behind her,” he said. Gunhus herself had no comment. Mike Ciresi, a trial lawyer who made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic Senate nomination last year, filed a complaint over a series of e-mails sent to Democratic activists during the months of May through July 2000. The messages accused him of being too moderate and carrying a client list of corporate polluters and anti-union companies. Ciresi failed to get an endorsement at the state party convention in June 2000 and then lost the primary election in September to Mark Dayton, a millionaire department store heir. Dayton went on to defeat Grams in the general election. The e-mails were sent under the fictitious name “Katie Stevens.” Investigators concluded that an e-mail account used to send them was accessed several times via a telephone line registered to Gunhus. When such messages come from a campaign, election laws require the source be identified. Bryan Lindberg, an assistant Anoka County prosecutor, said the filing of charges was delayed because investigators had to conduct a complicated computer analysis. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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