Two Top Democrats Charged with Election Fraud Crimes
A number of New Jersey Democrats have been charged with a number of election fraud crimes relating to council races in 2020.
The Democrats charged include Patterson City Council President Alex Mendez and his wife/campaign manager.
Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced that investigators had determined that Mendez illegally collected ballots while overseeing the fraudulent mailing of ballots, the Bergen County Record reported.
The Mendez campaign is also accused of stealing ballots from residential mailboxes while disregarding those not cast in favor of their candidate.
The councilman’s wife, Yohanny Mendez, and his campaign manager, Omar Ledesma, along with supporter Iris Rigo, are also charged in the case.
After announcing the charges, Platkin said:
“The defendants are accused of attempting to rig an election in their favor and to deprive the voters of Paterson of having their voices heard.’
“The functioning of democracy relies on voters’ trust that their votes count and those votes determine the outcomes of elections.”
The case stems from the Mendez campaign’s election efforts during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Platkin’s Office said many of the mail-in ballots collected by members of the Mendez campaign were not sealed by voters when they were turned over.
It is also alleged that after the ballots were taken to Mendez’s campaign headquarters, they were examined to see if they were votes for Mendez.
As TrendingPoliticsNews reported, If a voter had not selected Mendez, his wife would allegedly destroy the ballot and replace it with another mail-in ballot that selected Mendez, the attorney general’s Office said.
In addition, campaign members are accused of filling out ballots that voters did not complete.
Mendez and his co-defendants have also been charged with witness tampering and undertaking efforts to undermine the probe.
The incident followed an almost 4-year investigation that may have been extended due to the tampering allegation, said Thomas Eicher, executive director of the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability.
“I’m grateful for the many additional months of work the investigative team invested in pursuing evidence of potential witness tampering,” Eicher said.
“Their efforts uncovered more illegal conduct by these defendants, culminating in these new charges.”
However, Mendez denied the allegations and said he is “looking forward to” his “day in court.”
“This is unfair,” Mendez said Wednesday.
“They rushed to charge me four years ago, and when they knew those charges weren’t working and were going nowhere, they charged me with something else.”
Two defendants charged in another election fraud case brought forward in 2020 have had charges against them dismissed.
Charges are currently pending against Councilman Michael Jackson, who also maintained his innocence.
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