White Seeks Dismissal Of 7 Felony Counts

Attorney Also Seeks To Waive Jury Trial

Secretary of State Charlie White made another attempt to short-circuit the criminal trial he's facing next month.

White's attorney asked a Hamilton County judge to dismiss the seven felony counts with which he's charged, including voter fraud, theft, and perjury.

Attorney Carl Brizzi attacked special prosecutors, whom he said have made inflammatory statements about his client while engaging in an unfair prosecution.

But prosecutors said it's White who deceived the public by voting from an address where he no longer lived so he could hold onto his Fishers Town Council seat.

Going into court today, White had little to say compared to March, when he engaged in a rambling encounter with reporters, much to the chagrin of his then-attorney.

"I'm glad you came out, and we're just looking forward to a good hearing," said a smiling White.

Brizzi said there is no need for a criminal trial.

He said the action of the State Recount Commission, which rejected Democratic efforts to disqualify White from being Secretary of State, should be enough to exonerate him from the seven felony charges.

"You have a panel of lawyers, one of them an ex-judge from out of the county," said Brizzi. "It's a bipartisan panel who are, in my opinion, that's what they're paid to do. They're paid to sit on this panel. They deliberated for a number of hours on this decision. And election law's difficult."

But special prosecutor Dan Sigler said the Recount Commission is merely an administrative body and should not be allowed to block action by a criminal court, which operates on different standards.

And besides, that Recount Commission decision really isn't final, since it's being appealed in a Marion County court.

"Because it's a civil case. It's not related to the criminal case," said Sigler. "And there's plenty of cases in the State of Indiana that say that the action of that commission does not pre-empt the discretion of the prosecutor to act, or a grand jury, or a court in a criminal case."

Judge Steven Nation said he would try to have a decision on the motion to dismiss the charges by next Friday.

White is scheduled to go to trial January 30.

Brizzi also stunned prosecutors by asking to waive White's right to a jury trial and allow the judge to decide the case.

That would need the approval of both the judge and the prosecutors, who said they were unprepared to offer an opinion on that today.