EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSVOTE FRAUD UPDATE
from Eyewitness News Online
Former Lincoln County Clerk, Sheriff Plead Guilty In Federal Election Probe
Reported by: Bob Aaron
Videographer: Bob Aaron
Web Producer: Bethany Simmons
Also Contributing: AP, Teresa Higginbotham
Reported: Mar. 7, 2012 11:27 AM EST
Updated: Mar. 7, 2012 6:05 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Mr. Whitten, do you have anything to say to the voters of Lincoln County? " No comment." Donald Whitten, ex-county clerk wasn't talking to reporters or voters on his way to plead guilty to lying to an investigator during an election fraud probe.
He faces up to five years in prison, but apparent sentencing guidelines call for six months or less unless a judge determines differently.
Ex-Sheriff Jerry Bowman also plead guilty to "conspiracy against rights" Bowman is accused of conspiring to stuff the 2010 Democratic primary ballot box while running for circuit clerk. He faces up to ten years in prison.
WV Sec. of State Natalie Tennant, and some Lincoln County residents hope this signals some change. U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said when votes are obtained by fraud democracy itself is in " peril. " Both men will be sentenced June 13.
Two former Lincoln County officials are facing prison sentences after pleading guilty to charges stemming from an election fraud investigation.
Former Sheriff Jerry Bowman pleaded guilty Wednesday to a conspiracy charge. Former County Clerk Donald Whitten pleaded guilty to lying to an investigator.
Both men are scheduled to be sentenced June 13th in federal court in Charleston. Bowman faces up to 10 years in prison and Whitten faces a maximum five-year sentence.
Prosecutors say Bowman conspired to stuff the 2010 Democratic primary ballot box while running for circuit clerk. Whitten denied to an investigator for the Secretary of State's Office that he had provided absentee ballots to Bowman. Both men resigned ahead of their plea hearings.
A former West Virginia County Clerk has plead guilty to lying to a state investigator.
The charges stem from fraudulent absentee ballots in 2010 Democratic Primary in Lincoln County.
Eyewitness News is told that under the plea agreement, Donald Whittman will serve a maximum of six months, but the judge isn't bound to that. Sentencing is scheduled for June 13th.
Meanwhile Lincoln County Sheriff Jerry Bowman is also in court. We have a crew on the scene and will bring you more information as it becomes available.
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