The long saga of Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White (R) isn’t over yet — but it now it includes a conviction on 6 felony charges. White, the top elections official in his state, was indicted last March on charges that he lied about where he lived to remain on the voter rolls in the Fishers, IN district where he served on the city council along with other related charges. On Friday, he was convicted on 6 out of 7 felony charges and was immediately replaced by a new interim director.
The Indianapolis Star reports that the conviction may not be the end of this time at the top of the state’s electoral law enforcement strucuture.
White, 42, Fishers, plans to ask a judge to reduce his convictions – all class D felonies – to misdemeanors at sentencing. It’s uncertain whether that move would allow him to reclaim his job.
“We don’t know the right answer to that,” White said. “This is all very new.”
Shortly after White’s verdict was read, Gov. Mitch Daniels announced in a news release shortly before 3 a.m. that he has appointed Jerry Bonnet, White’s chief deputy, as interim secretary of state.
“I have chosen not to make a permanent appointment today out of respect for the judge’s authority to lessen the verdict to a misdemeanor and reinstate the elected office holder,” the Republican governor said in the news release. “If the felony convictions are not altered, I anticipate making a permanent appointment quickly.”
But state Democrats say it’s time for White to go.
“It’s obvious that Mitch Daniels will try anything to take back this fraudulent election, but there’s only one thing that should happen now: Vop Osili [the Democrat White defeat in the Sec. of State race in 2010] should become Secretary of State, and we should put the embarrassment that is Charlie White behind us,” state Democratic party chair Dan Parker said in a statement.
Here’s a timeline of the case from the Star.