Ed McDonough, the Democrat Elections Commissioner in Rensselaer County embroiled in a voter fraud scheme which has seen others of his party either serve time or accept plea deals for their actions, will go back on trial in November, with jury selection beginning on the 13th of that month.
From the Times Union:
In November, Rensselaer County Democratic Elections Commissioner Edward McDonough will stand trial for the second time this year on charges he allegedly forged absentee ballots to help Democrats secure the 2009 Working Families Party primary…
… McDonough, who faces 38 felony counts of second-degree forgery and 36 felony counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, was first tried alongside former City Councilman Michael LoPorto earlier this year. That highly publicized trial took nine weeks, beginning Jan. 17 and ending in a mistrial with a hung jury March 13.
This trial, and the ensuing ones should provide a plethora of exciting details. The first combined trial with LoPorto (who has since been acquitted) and McDonough saw accusations of voters being paid for their signatures, accusations of immigrants being targeted, stories of mentally disabled men being used for their ballots, and Democrat councilmen joking about their past felony convictions.
Such is the state of politics in upstate New York.
McDonough’s trial will then likely be followed by the trials of two other Democrats allegedly involved in the scheme.
Former City Council President Clement Campana awaits trial on charges of first-degree falsifying business records and four counts of illegal voting, all felonies, and a count of conspiracy to promote or prevent election, a misdemeanor.
City Councilman Gary Galuski still faces four felony counts of first-degree falsifying business records.
Our original prediction was that the first trial for LoPorto would end up in his acquittal, based on varying witness accounts and a convenient changing of testimony by Working Families Party operative Sara Couch. McDonough does not have such luxuries, and may well face some level of conviction.
McDonough also currently serves on the school board for the Lansingburgh School District.
The first witness called to testify in the upstate New York ballot fraud case, Jermaine Joseph, provided the expected testimony – ballots were filled out on his behalf, votes were cast across a straight Democrat party line, etc.
But an interesting caveat was also revealed, something Joseph did not provide in his grand jury testimony – He claims he was paid for his troubles.
Via the Times Union:
A former Hudson Valley Community College football player told jurors Wednesday that he was paid $10 to register to vote by a man from Troy City Hall.
Jermaine Joseph was the first witness called to testify at the trial of two Democrats accused of forging absentee ballots to hijack the 2009 Working Families Party primary.
Joseph said that he and his roommate were each given $10 by a man from Troy City Hall after they signed voter registration cards in 2009. He did not identify the man.
The Troy Record reports that the man told them to go grocery shopping.
Smith had Joseph read how the ballot cast in his name was filled out: It was a straight Democratic line. Democrats were running for the party nomination.
Another witness, Omaira Rodriguez, also testified, claiming that a signature and general hand-writing on an absentee ballot that she never requested, was not hers.
For more background on the case, please go here…
Rodriguez said that said that “she had voted in the 2009 WFP primary but said she did not do it through an absentee ballot.”
In documents presented by Matthew Hugg, an attorney assisting Smith during the trial, it showed that an application was filled out in Rodriguez’s name claiming she would be in New York City on Sept. 15, 2009. Rodriguez said she was not the one who indicated on the absentee ballot application that she would be on vacation around the time and added that she had not been to New York City since 2005.
New York State Police Investigator John Ogden was also questioned.
Ogden said he was assigned the case on Oct. 15, 2009. He went through the various leads that were developed through interviews with people involved in the alleged scheme such as Working Families Party operative Sara Couch and Democratic Party operative and former Troy Housing Authority employee Anthony DeFiglio. DeFigilio pled guilty to one felony of falsifying business records in December, 2011.
Ogden says that the handwriting on the 2007/2008 applications was similar to the fraudulent 2009 applications.
In other words, local Democrats have been doing this for years. No wonder they thought it was a ‘normal political tactic’.
Opening statements were made by both the prosecution and the defense in a massive upstate New York voter fraud case. Special prosecutor, Trey Smith, promises to expose the seedy underbelly of Democratic politics in the city of Troy, something other Democrats already charged in the case have referred to as ‘normal political tactics.’
The trial involves Democrat Board of Elections Commissioner Ed McDonough, and former Councilman Michael LoPorto, who combined, face over 100 total charges that include second-degree forgery, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, and second-degree criminal possession.
Smith has claimed that Democrats ‘went for a power grab to ensure that several of its candidates, namely former Councilman John Brown, LoPorto, and former Council President Clement Campana, won the 2009 Working Families Party primary, which would help them win the general election a month later.’
For his part, defense attorney Brian Premo, isn’t necessarily denying the accusations but rather, trying to place “the blame on Democratic politicians and operatives”. He even admitted a scheme in which Brown and Campana, both aspiring mayoral candidates, concocted a story to blame the fraud on then Department of Public Works Commissioner Bob Mirch, a Republican.
When the act of fraud was made public, Premo said Brown then held a meeting with members of the Working Families Party and workers from the Board of Elections at LoPorto’s Restaurant on fourth Street. There, he suggested the WFP members blame the fraud on then-Department of Public Works Commissioner Bob Mirch.
In our report last week, James Gordon, Chairman of the Troy Republican Committee said, “This was greed, ignorance, lack of ethics, and laziness. Bad people doing bad things.”
Watch the prosecution’s opening statement below…