It was a crazy weekend for Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White who was found guilty of six felonies by a jury on Saturday morning. That night, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels quickly named current Secretary of State Deputy Jerry Bonnet as a temporary replacement. Then, on Sunday, White took to the airwaves of Fox News to burn all bridges on his way out the door, taking jabs at everyone involved, including Daniels, who he claims has voted illegally in the past 10 elections.
By Monday morning, the Indiana Democratic Party was in the courtroom looking to overturn Daniels’ decision to name Bonnet as the replacement:
On Monday, the Indiana Democratic Party filed a motion asking the Indiana Court of Appeals to trump Daniels’ appointment and give the office instead to Democrat Vop Osili, who lost the 2010 race to White.
At issue is whether White was properly registered to vote in May 2010 when he used his ex-wife’s address instead of a condo he had with his fiancee.
Prosecutors and Democrats contend White voted fraudulently so he wouldn’t have to give up his $1,000-per-month Fishers Town Council salary after moving out of that district.
A criminal and a civil case have been moving on separate tracks, which has complicated the situation.
The civil case against White is based on inaccuracies in his voter registration at the time of his election. Within weeks of his victory, the Indiana Democratic Party had filed papers asking he be removed from office because he fraudulently claimed an address to keep his Town Council salary. Incorrect voter registration would have made him ineligible to be nominated and to serve. According to Indiana law, White being found ineligible means his office should go to the second highest vote getter:
The Indiana Recount Commission held a hearing in June and ruled unanimously in White’s favor. The commission specifically believed testimony from White’s ex-wife that he was staying with her because he didn’t want to move into the new home with his fiancee until they were married.
But a Marion County judge disagreed, finding in December that White was ineligible to run for office and declaring Osili the winner of the office. That decision has been stayed while it is being appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals. Attorneys in the case have also asked the Indiana Supreme Court to intervene, but the court has not acted on the request.
Karen Celestino-Horseman, attorney for the Democratic Party, filed a motion Monday that essentially says the criminal conviction proves the civil case, noting that a criminal conviction carries a higher burden of proof than a civil case.
“I think the people of Indiana deserve to have someone in that office that we can put our faith in,” she said of Osili.
Read this entire Fort Wayne Journal Gazette article for more info.