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NY AG subpoenas Rensseler County BOE records

Oct 26, 2022 1:00 am

Brendan J. Lyons reports for the Times Union that the state attorney general's office recently served a grand jury subpoena on Rensselaer County asking for a store of absentee ballot documents that were handled last year by county Operations Director Richard W. Crist and also Jim Gordon, the county's director of purchasing. The subpoena requests the records from the Board of Elections be returned to a Rensselaer County grand jury in late November. It also asks for absentee documents that may have been handled by Leslie A. Wallace and Sara J. McDermott, who both work for Rensselaer County. McDermott has been described by county political insiders as a GOP operative. The attorney general's investigation is separate from a federal grand jury inquiry being handled by the FBI and the Albany U.S. attorney's office. That investigation is focusing on voter fraud allegations in Rensselaer County and led to the guilty plea of a former Troy city councilmember, Kimberly Ashe-McPherson, as well as the indictment two months ago of Jason T. Schofield, the county's Republican elections commissioner. Ashe-McPherson, 61, a Republican, pleaded guilty in June to fraudulently submitting absentee ballots in last year's primary and general elections as she sought re-election. She subsequently resigned from public office. Schofield was charged with fraudulently obtaining and filing absentee ballots using the personal information of at least eight voters without their permission. He has pleaded not guilty and has returned to work at the Board of Elections. A source said the attorney general's subpoena seeks absentee records similar to those previously subpoenaed by the U.S. attorney's office. However, the state's subpoena specifically lists the names of Crist, Gordon, Wallace, and McDermott. Wallace was listed in payroll records two years ago as an assistant for constituent relations in the office of county Executive Steve McLaughlin. McDermott is a confidential assistant in the human resources office and has been active in local politics and government. Last year, she ran for county executive on the Working Families Party line. Crist and Gordon both became a focus in the Justice Department's investigation in February when FBI agents seized their mobile phones, days after a federal grand jury subpoena was served on the county seeking voter records. Read the full story in the Times Union.