An attorney for former Secretary of State Charlie White faced tough questioning Tuesday from Indiana’s three-judge appeals court during White’s latest bid to overturn the voter fraud convictions that forced him from office. Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik interrupted attorney Andrea Ciobanu only seconds after the attorney began her oral arguments and asked Ciobanu what her “strongest argument” was in White’s appeal of his convictions on six felony counts. Ciobanu said her most substantial argument in seeking to overturn White’s 2012 convictions is that the trial court in central Indiana’s Hamilton County failed to apply Indiana’s residency statute “at all” as his case played out. She said that left White unable to convey to jurors where his actual place of residence was as they heard evidence and eventually convicted him on three counts of voter fraud, two counts of perjury and one count of theft.
“I think it’s difficult for the jury to make that decision based on the evidence they were presented and the limited information they were given and the misapplication of the law,” Ciobanu told the appeals court.
White, a Republican, was automatically removed from his statewide office in February 2012 after a jury convicted him. The six counts included using his ex-wife’s Fishers home as his voting address in 2010 — four years after their divorce — while campaigning for secretary of state as he served on a suburban Indianapolis town council.
Prosecutors said White lived in a townhouse outside his council district with his then-fiancee, but was still receiving his council salary and was still voting in his old precinct.