Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White is expected to paint a picture of a man with a complicated personal life who was essentially without a home for nearly a year when he defends himself against voter fraud allegations during an Indiana Recount Commission hearing.
But White’s tale of what he calls efforts to care for his son and respect the wishes of his then-fiancée may not hold sway with the commission, which is under a judge’s order to decide whether he illegally voted in the May 2010 primary while registered at his ex-wife’s address.
A ruling against White would invalidate his election and force his removal from office. He also could face jail time if convicted in a separate criminal case.
“I cannot believe I’m fighting for my life, my family, over something like this. It’s tragic,” White told The Associated Press during a Saturday interview at the Fishers condo he shares with his second wife, Michelle, and their children from previous marriages.
Tuesday’s hearing comes a day after a federal judge denied White’s request that his testimony before the Recount Commission be shielded from use in a separate criminal trial scheduled for August. White faces seven felony charges, including three counts of voter fraud. A conviction on any of the counts would be enough to remove him from office, and possibly put him in jail.
Judge Louis Rosenberg said there was no clear legal precedent for granting immunity if it had not been requested by prosecutors.
White has tried unsuccessfully to delay the commission hearing until after his criminal trial so he wouldn’t risk incriminating himself.
The Indiana Democratic Party has pressed since September for a special investigation of White, arguing he was ineligible to run for secretary of state because he fraudulently registered to vote last year. The party contends White intentionally skirted the law to keep his seat on the Fishers Town Council after moving out of the district he represented.
Indiana law requires voters to have lived in their precinct for at least 30 days before the next general, municipal, or special election. White has previously acknowledged the voting error, chalking it up to his busy schedule and new marriage.