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Three Republicans indicted on absentee ballot fraud charges in Rensselaer County

Apr 28, 2023 12:57 am

Brendan J. Lyons reports in the Times Union that three Rensselaer County government officials have been indicted on federal criminal charges of using fraud and intimidation to obtain absentee ballots in the names of voters for primary and general elections in 2021. Richard W. Crist, the county’s director of operations, is one of the three indicted. James R. Gordon, director of the county’s Bureau of Central Services, and Leslie A. Wallace, a longtime political consultant listed in public records as an “assistant for constituent relations” in the office of Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, were the other two indicted, after turning themselves in to the FBI's Albany headquarters on April 27. They all entered not guilty pleas. They were released on the condition that they do not travel outside the United States. U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter warned them against trying to influence or intimidate any witnesses. The indictments allege that the trio conspired to use their official positions to violate the constitutional rights of county employees under them, intimidating them into requesting and filing absentee ballots. They each face up to ten years in prison if convicted of conspiracy to violate constitutional rights, while Gordon faces up to 20 years in prison for witness tampering; and Wallace could get five years in prison for making false statements. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

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