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DA to drop misdemeanor charge against former Grafton pharmacist who spoiled vials of COVID-19 vaccine, report says

Steven Brandenburg
Posted at 12:28 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 19:54:33-04

OZAUKEE COUNTY — The Ozaukee County District Attorney's Office has decided to drop a state misdemeanor charge against Steven Brandenburg, a former Grafton pharmacist who was recently sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to charges of tampering with dozens of vials of the COVID-19 vaccine.

TMJ4's news partner, the Milwaukee Business Journal, says the misdemeanor charge Brandenburg faces is attempted criminal damage to property.

He is currently already facing a 36-month sentence in federal prison and up to $83,000 in restitution after he was charged with Tampering with a Consumer Product. If he is convicted on the state misdemeanor charge, he could face up to another $10,000 fine and nine months added to his prison term.

stephen brandenburg
FILE - In this Jan. 4, 2021 booking photo provided by the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office in Port Washington, Wis., Steven Brandenburg is shown. Brandenburg, a former Wisconsin pharmacist, pleaded guilty Tuesday, Feb. 9 in federal court to charges that he tried to spoil dozens of vials of COVID-19 vaccine. Federal prosecutors charged Brandenburg in late January with two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products. He pleaded guilty to both counts during a video conference with U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig in Milwaukee. (Ozaukee County Sheriff via AP, File)

According to the Biz Journal, Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol said although Advocate Aurora Health Care said the vaccines were damaged by Brandenburg, Moderna, the manufacturer of the vaccine, disagreed. Gerol said in court Wednesday that he doesn't believe it's in the public's best interest to pursue the misdemeanor case.

If Aurora Health Care's legal team doesn't file a victim-rights statement to the court by June 30, Ozaukee County Circuit Court Judge Paul Malloy said he'll sign an order to dismiss the charge.

Malloy also approved a request from Brandenburg's attorney, Jason Baltz, allowing him to sell eight of Brandenburg's guns held as a condition of his bail, and have all proceeds go to Brandenburg. He can no longer own guns as a result of the criminal cases, so Baltz can facilitate the sales through a federally licensed gun dealer.

Gerol said this was fair in order for Brandenburg to help pay bills and possibly restitution.

Brandenburg was arrested in December following an investigation into how 57 vials of the Moderna vaccine were left outside of a refrigerator for more than 12 hours.

Officials said Brandenburg took the vials out in hopes of making them ineffective, and prosecutors said this is because he had an issue with the vaccine and believed it was micro-chipped and that people who took it would become infertile.

Records also show that on multiple different occasions he convinced co-workers to replace their flu-shots with a saline solution look-alike placebo by creating fake flu vaccine labels.

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