Secretary Of State Fights Theft, Voter Fraud Charges
9:31 AM, Dec 9, 2011
A judge will consider Friday whether to dismiss criminal charges including theft and voter fraud against Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White that could lead to his removal from office.White faces a January trial on the charges, which also include perjury, unless Hamilton Superior Court Judge Steven Nation decides the counts should be dropped. Nation will hear oral arguments Friday in suburban Noblesville, north of Indianapolis.The decision could mark the end -- or almost the end -- of a long, harrowing road for the Republican, who won the November 2010 election by about 345,000 votes despite accusations that he lied about where he lived in the 2010 primary so he could continue collecting his pay from the Fishers Town Council.State Democrats also filed a civil lawsuit seeking to oust him from office, but the Indiana Recount Commission ruled against them in June. Democrats have since appealed that decision to a Marion County judge, who is due to rule this month.A Hamilton County grand jury indicted White in March on seven felony counts alleging that he used his ex-wife's address on voter registration and other documents while he actually lived at a condo where he intended to live with his new wife, and that he collected his town council salary after moving out of the district he represented.White has maintained his innocence, saying the allegations are politically motivated and ignore a complicated personal life in which he was trying to raise his 10-year-old son, plan his second marriage and campaign for the state's top elections job. He has also gone on the attack, calling on prosecutors to file voter fraud charges against one of the two special prosecutors in his case and U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh. Both prosecutors declined.Nation last month rejected White's argument that special prosecutors John Dowd, a Republican, and Dan Sigler Sr., a Democrat, had been improperly appointed.In a court brief, White claims among other things that the special prosecutors didn't provide grand jurors evidence that favored him and didn't adequately explain the law to them. He also claims that some of the charges against him constitute double jeopardy.In their own brief, the special prosecutors deny double jeopardy and counter that they presented evidence on which White insisted and that six of the eight witnesses who testified before the grand jury were suggested by White."The grand jury had complete access to the law, heard from the defendant's witnesses and chose to indict," the prosecutors wrote.