Questions will soon be answered as to whether or not Barack Hussein Obama actually qualified to be on the 2008 Presidential ballot as the trial gets underway for a former Democrat Party official and a Board of Elections worker who are accused of submitting illegitimate signatures on petitions that enabled both Obama and Hillary Clinton to qualify for the race in Indiana.
Fox News reports,
Former longtime St. Joseph County Democratic Party Chairman Butch Morgan Jr. faces multiple felony conspiracy counts to commit petition fraud, and former county Board of Elections worker Dustin Blythe is charged with nine felony forgery counts and one felony count of falsely making a petition of nomination. The proceedings began Monday in South Bend.
Morgan is accused of being the mastermind behind the plot, by allegedly ordering Democratic officials and workers to fake the names and signatures that Obama and Clinton needed to qualify for the presidential race. Blythe, then a Board of Elections employee and Democratic Party volunteer, has been accused of carrying out those orders by forging signatures on Obama's petitions.
Two former Board of Elections officials have already pleaded guilty to charges related to the scheme and could testify against Morgan and Blythe.
Former board worker Beverly Shelton, who allegedly was assigned the task of forging the petitions for Hillary Clinton, pleaded guilty in March to charges of forgery and falsely making a petition. The board's former Democratic head of voter registration, Pam Brunette, pleaded guilty in April to felony forgery, official misconduct, and falsifying a petition.
Under state law presidential candidates must obtain 500 signatures from each of the state's nine congressional districts. In the Second Congressional District, which is St. Joseph County, Obama's campaign only got 534 signatures, while campaign rival Hillary Clinton got 704.
Prosecutors in the case claim that nine of the petition pages of signatures for Obama were forged. Each of the pages contain ten names which makes it possible that up to 90 names were forged. This means Barack Obama would have been ineligible (not that he isn't ineligible on other grounds) should he fall under the legal limit required to qualify. Clinton on the other hand still had a significant amount of petition signatures to meet the threshold of 500.
One Indiana State Police investigator, who investigated the petitions, said in court papers that "selected names at random from each of the petition pages and contacted those people directly. We found at least one person (and often multiple people) from each page who confirmed that they had not signed" petitions "or given consent for their name and/or signature to appear."
If you recall, this is the very thing that tripped up Newt Gingrich up in the Republican primaries when he failed to get on the ballot in Virginia because authorities claimed that hundreds of signatures on his campaign's petitions were fraudulent. One campaign worker pleaded guilty and another is still facing charges.
UPDATE: A guilty verdict has been reached in the trial.
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A jury in South Bend, Indiana has found that fraud put President Obama and Hillary Clinton on the presidential primary ballot in Indiana in the 2008 election. Two Democratic political operatives were convicted Thursday night in the illegal scheme after only three hours of deliberations. They were found guilty on all counts.
Former longtime St. Joseph County Democratic party Chairman Butch Morgan Jr. was found guilty of felony conspiracy counts to commit petition fraud and forgery, and former county Board of Elections worker Dustin Blythe was found guilty of felony forgery counts and falsely making a petition, after being accused of faking petitions that enabled Obama, then an Illinois Senator, to get on the presidential primary ballot for his first run for the White House.
Morgan was accused of being the mastermind behind the plot.