PATERSON, N.J. — New Jersey’s Legal professional Common filed expenses towards 4 males, together with two sitting metropolis councilmembers in Paterson, for electoral fraud in reference to a Could 12, 2020 particular election.
The Could 12 particular election in Paterson was performed completely mail-in ballots which Councilman Michael Jackson after which Councilman-Elect Alex Mendez are charged with improperly gathering.
An investigation Grewal’s Workplace of Public Integrity & Accountability started when the U.S. Postal Inspection Service alerted the lawyer common’s workplace that a whole bunch of mail-in ballots have been present in a mailbox in Paterson. Quite a few further ballots have been present in a mailbox in close Haledon.
Usually talking, a voter who receives a mail-in poll completes the poll themselves after which returns the poll mailing it, putting it in a specifically designated “drop field,” or delivering it to the County Board of Elections. Nonetheless, New Jersey additionally permits a voter to offer the finished poll to a “bearer,” who should full the bearer certification on the poll envelope within the presence of the voter after which return the poll on behalf of the voter. Below state regulation, a bearer could acquire and ship ballots for not more than three voters in an election, and a candidate within the election is rarely permitted to function a bearer.
It’s alleged that Jackson and Mendez violated state election legal guidelines as candidates approaching a number of voters in Paterson within the districts the place they have been operating and gathering their official mail-in ballots for supply to the Passaic County Board of Elections. It’s additional alleged that these mail-in ballots have been delivered to the Board of Elections with out data figuring out the bearer, in violation of state election legal guidelines.
Mendez and Jackson, in addition to Shelim Khalique, 51, and Abu Razyen, 21, are charged with felony conduct involving mail-in ballots throughout the election.
As well as, Jackson, 48, and Mendez, 45, allegedly procured and had of their possession official mail-in ballots which have been neither their very own ballots, nor ballots for which they have been recognized as a licensed bearer. Mendez additionally allegedly procured or submitted a number of voter registration functions, which he knew to be false, fictitious, or fraudulent, in that he knew the individual for whom the applying was procured was not eligible to vote within the election district recognized on the applying.
Lastly, Jackson allegedly acquired the official mail-in poll of 1 voter with out the poll having been voted or sealed, and that poll was subsequently delivered to the Board of Elections in a sealed envelope with out data figuring out the bearer.
Khalique allegedly violated state election legal guidelines approaching a residence in Paterson’s 2nd Ward and gathering official mail-in ballots from a number of voters which subsequently have been delivered to the Passaic County Board of Elections with out data figuring out the bearer. As well as, Khalique and the bus firm he owns, A-1 Elegant Excursions, Inc., d/b/a Japanese Star Transportation, LLC, have been charged right this moment with contract fraud and different crimes in a separate investigation OPIA, the New Jersey State Police, Essex County Prosecutor’s Workplace, and Passaic County Prosecutor’s Workplace.
Razyen is accused of getting violated state election legal guidelines procuring and possessing greater than three official mail-in ballots which weren’t his personal and for which he was not recognized as a licensed bearer. Investigators obtained a USB drive containing a video of Razyen holding and flipping a stack of greater than three official mail-in poll outer envelopes that didn’t have the bearer portion accomplished. The video confirmed that Razyen had collected the mail-in ballots.
Jackson and Mendez are each charged with mail-in vote fraud, unauthorized possession of ballots, tampering with public data and falsifying or tampering with public data. Mendez additionally faces expenses off election fraud and false registration or switch.
Khalique and Razyen are charged with fraud in casting mail-in votes and unauthorized possession of ballots. Khalique additionally faces tampering and falsifying data expenses.
The case briefly turned nationwide information throughout the 2020 Election cycle when then-President Donald Trump’s marketing campaign cited the Paterson case in its unsuccessful lawsuit to cease New Jersey’s vote--mail plan for the presidential election.
“As we speak’s expenses ship a transparent message: when you attempt to tamper with an election in New Jersey, we are going to discover you and we are going to maintain you accountable,” stated Legal professional Common Grewal. “We is not going to enable a small variety of criminals to undermine the general public’s confidence in our democratic course of.”
PIX11 Information reached out to attorneys for all 4 defendants in addition to Mayor Andre Sayegh and the town’s public data workplace.
“These indictments reaffirm the seriousness of the crimes for which the defendants are accused,” stated Mayor Sayegh a spokesperson. “I stay hopeful that justice can be served on behalf of the residents of Paterson.”
Jackson’s lawyer, Theodore Kyles, advised PIX11 Information that “I’ve learn information accounts of the costs however I’ve not but seen the precise indictments and so I can’t remark till I see them.”
We’ve got but to again from representatives of the opposite defendants.
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