Louisiana former police chief and councilman plead guilty to offering people between $10 and $20 each to vote for them in 2016 and 2020 elections

·2 min read
Stock photo of a voting booth
Stock photo of a voting boothHill Street Studios/Getty Images
  • A Louisiana ex-cop and city councilman pleaded guilty to paying people for their votes.

  • The Justice Department said the duo conspired to pay between $10 and $20 for favorable votes.

  • Prosecutors said the offenses took place during 2016 and 2020 elections.   

A former Louisiana police chief and councilman pleaded guilty to offering people money in exchange for their vote during 2016 and 2020 elections, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

The Department of Justice said in a statement that former Amite City Police Chief Jerry Trabona and Amite City Councilman Kristian Hart conspired to pay and offered to pay voters in a southeast Louisiana district ahead of the 2016 primary and general elections. The DOJ said the duo "criminally" violated federal election laws.

According to court documents seen by Insider, prosecutors said Trabona, 72, and Hart, 49, gave money to multiple accomplices who would then pay voters between $10 and $20 each to vote favorably for the duo.

Prosecutors said in court documents that individuals who had not yet voted were targeted, paid, and even brought to polling locations. They were told who to vote for or were provided sample ballots with Trabona and Hart's names on them, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said that to hide votes, Trabona made the individuals who were hired to buy votes sign contracts falsely saying they wouldn't "make any overture or any kind to any voter or other person of financial award or other benefit in exchange for a vote."

Trabona and Hart each pleaded guilty to one conspiracy to buy votes. Hart also pleaded guilty to three counts of vote-buying during the 2016 and 2020 elections.

"The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that illegal voting, including vote buying, has no place in our nation's electoral system," Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite, Jr. said in a statement. "Safeguarding the voting process is of paramount importance to our office and the Department of Justice."

Trabona and Hart will be sentenced on November 1 and face up to five years in prison for each count.

Read the original article on Insider