An attorney for indicted Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White urged a judge Friday to consider findings by the Indiana Recount Commission as he weighs White’s request to dismiss voter fraud and other criminal charges that could lead to his removal from office. Attorney Carl Brizzi told Hamilton Superior Court Judge Steven Nation that the recount panel’s unanimous June ruling that White was eligible to run for office last year should have a bearing on White’s bid to have the criminal charges against him dismissed.
A Hamilton County grand jury indicted White in March on seven felony counts alleging he used his ex-wife’s address on voter registration and other documents while he lived at a condo where he intended to live with his new wife. The grand jury also found that he collected his Fishers Town Council salary after moving out of the district he represented. White faces a January trial on the charges, which also include perjury, unless Nation decides the counts should be dropped. Nation said he would rule by Friday on that request.
The decision could mark the end — or almost the end — of a long road for White, who won the November 2010 election by about 345,000 votes, despite accusations that he lied about his residence. Democrats who filed the civil lawsuit with the Recount Commission seeking to oust him from office are appealing that decision to a Marion County judge, who is due to rule this month.
Brizzi noted Friday that the recount panel unanimously found in June that White had been eligible to run for office in 2010, a decision that rebuffed a Democratic challenge to his candidacy based on the allegation that he had illegally registered to vote at his ex-wife’s address. Brizzi also said that residency issues are complicated.
“Where someone lays their head, where they eat, where the utility bills are sent is not necessarily a determinant of legal residence. That’s a complicated formula,” he said.
Special prosecutor Dan Sigler Sr. said the civil and criminal cases are “not interwoven.” “It’s a civil case — it’s not related to the criminal case,” he said.