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Ousted Ind. official sentenced in voter fraud caseOusted Indiana elections chief White sentenced to 1 year home detention in voter fraud case
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) ' Indiana's ousted secretary of state was sentenced Thursday to a year of home detention for his conviction on felony charges including voter fraud, after a judge denied a request to reduce the felonies to misdemeanors.
A Hamilton County jury on Feb. 4 found Charlie White guilty of six felony charges, including false registration, voting in another precinct, submitting a false ballot, theft and two counts of perjury. He faced seven felonies.
Prosecutors said White listed his ex-wife's address instead of a condo he had with his then-fiancee on his voter registration form because he didn't want to give up his Fishers Town Council salary after moving out of that district.
White, 42, has said the charges ignored a complicated personal life in which he was trying to raise his 10-year-old son, plan a new marriage and campaign for statewide office. He says he stayed at his ex-wife's house when he wasn't on the road campaigning and did not live in the condo until after he remarried.
Judge Steven Nation rejected a request by White attorney Carl Brizzi to reduce the charges, which are class D felonies, to misdemeanors. Brizzi had argued the reduction was appropriate because his client had no criminal background and had a long record of public service.
Indiana law prohibits public officials convicted of felonies from holding office. White's conviction bars him from reclaiming the job he held on to for more than a year despite calls from Democrats and Republicans, including GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels, for him to step down.
Thursday's sentencing won't end the court battles, however. White is expected to appeal, and there is still legal wrangling over who will replace him permanently.
Daniels named White's chief deputy, Jerry Bonnet, interim secretary of state after White's conviction. Daniels said he held off on a permanent appointment out of respect for the judge's authority to reduce the charges. He said if the felony convictions stood, he anticipated making a permanent appointment quickly.
Democrats want White's 2010 candidacy declared invalid so that runner-up Vop Osili, who lost to White by about 300,000 votes, can be named to the job.
The Indiana Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments next week on a civil case in which Democrats contend White was never eligible to run for office in 2010 because he was improperly registered to vote.
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