This could be a rough week for Charlie White.
Indiana’s embattled Secretary of State is to be the subject of an eight-hour Indiana Recount Commission hearing Tuesday. The first-term Republican isn’t the only one who will be grilled by Democrats who want him thrown out of office.
His wife Michelle will, too. So will his ex-wife, Nicole Mills, and her husband. His neighbor will be subpoenaed. So will the developer of his new condominium and the saleswoman who showed it to him.
The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether White’s voter registration last year was valid. If it was not, he could be removed from office.
It’s the first of two legal proceedings that could result in White’s removal from office. Two special prosecutors say he registered to vote last year at an address where he did not live in order to keep his seat on the Fishers Town Council during the campaign for Secretary of State.
The Indiana Recount Commission can rule that White was not a legally registered voter, and therefore not qualified for office. In that case, the post goes to the No. 2 finisher on the ballot, Democrat Vop Osili.
If he survives the recount panel’s decision, White is also facing seven felony charges related to those voter fraud allegations in a Hamilton County court. If he is convicted of a single felony, he must vacate the office, and Gov. Mitch Daniels will appoint his replacement.
It is possible on Tuesday that White could refuse to answer most or all questions for fear of incriminating himself ahead of his trial.
His attorney, as well as Carl Brizzi, the former Marion County prosecutor who represents his wife, Michelle White, had asked the recount panel for “use immunity” to prevent their statements in the hearing from later being used against them.
Thomas Wheeler, who was appointed by the Indiana Republican Party to chair the commission after White recused himself from the case, said an administrative panel does not have the power to grant such immunity.