Secretary of State Charlie White, the top election official in Indianapolis, is facing seven felony counts, including voter fraud, perjury and theft, all connected to what a prosecutor said was an attempt to hold on to his seat on the town council even though he was living outside of his designated district.
White was indicted by a grand jury in Hamilton County on three counts of voter fraud for allegedly lying about his address when he voted in last year’s Republican primary, the Courier-Journal reports. In addition he’s facing charges of perjury, fraud on a financial institution (for lying about his address) and theft for keeping the salary he received as a member of his town council after he moved out of his designated district.
A special prosecutor announced the indictment on Thursday and White turned himself in at the Hamilton County Jail this afternoon, the Indianapolis Star reports. He was released after he posted $10,000 bond. The probe has been in the works since at least October.
White has already admitted that he voted in a district where he no longer lived. His registered address was a home he and his now ex-wife had shared on and off until 2009.
After he got divorced in 2007, White updated his voter registration when he moved into an apartment in the same district (as he was serving on his town council). He moved back into his ex-wife’s home in February 2009 and began splitting his time between his ex-wife’s home and a newly purchased condo outside of his district, according to reports.
Then in February of 2010, White changed switched his address back to his ex-wife’s address on his voter registration because he said he was unsure when he would close on his new home. He reportedly blamed his busy schedule for his failure to switch his voter registration to reflect his new condo’s address.
Jim Bopp, White’s lawyer in a civil case over his client’s eligibility to take office and a member of the Republican National Committee, defended White’s defiance in an interview with the newspaper.
“He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence just like every other person. I talked to him about it,” Bopp said. “I’m confident that this doesn’t rise to the level of a criminal offense. … He had kind of a chaotic personal living situation at the time. To suggest that he intentionally did this for some gain is just absurd.”