In the days after his indictment on seven felony charges, Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White received the same advice repeatedly from his top advisers: Don’t talk to the media about the charges. White listened and nodded in agreement, according to sources close to him, but when it came time to follow that advice, he went his own way. Before his March 11, 2011, initial hearing, White shocked his advisers by giving a 12-minute impromptu news conference about his theory that the charges, which included voter fraud and theft, are politically motivated. White, who had been one of the Republican Party’s most faithful servants, had gone rogue.
Days earlier, he had declined to comply with Gov. Mitch Daniels’ request for him to step aside. His actions, viewed by many as erratic, had made him something of a pariah even within his own party. But friends say his commitment to proving his innocence, even if it means striking out on his own, demonstrates the fighter mentality and dedication that first won over his Republican supporters.