Click Here to Watch How To Find A Lawyer by Kent Morlan
Click Here For The Best New Orleans Criminal Defense Lawyer Directory
If no lawyer is listed, call 918-582-6422 and MoreLaw will help you find a lawyer for free.
Description: New Orleans, Louisiana criminal law lawyer represented Defendant charged with violating federal election laws as part of a conspiracy to pay, or offer to pay, voters for voting in a federal election.
Jerry Trabona, 73, the former Chief of Police in Amite City, and Kristian “Kris” Hart, 50, a former Amite City councilmember, agreed with each other and others to pay or offer to pay voters residing in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, for voting during the 2016 Open Primary Election and the 2016 Open General Election, contests in which Trabona and Hart were candidates. Trabona and Hart’s vote buying scheme included the solicitation and hiring of individuals responsible for identifying potential voters, the transportation of those voters to the polls, and payment and offer of payment to the voters for voting. In the 2016 election, co-conspirator Sidney Smith, 69, of Amite City, paid voters with money provided by Trabona and Hart.
Two other Louisiana men who previously pleaded guilty for their involvement in the vote buying scheme, Calvin Batiste and Louis Ruffino, will be sentenced at a later date.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, and Special Agent in Charge Douglas Williams of the FBI New Orleans Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI New Orleans Field Office investigated the case.
Trial Attorneys Rosaleen T. O’Gara and Michael N. Lang of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Irene González for the Eastern District of Louisiana are prosecuting the case.
18:371 CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT VOTE BUYING
If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
If, however, the offense, the commission of which is the object of the conspiracy, is a misdemeanor only, the punishment for such conspiracy shall not exceed the maximum punishment provided for such misdemeanor.
52:10307(c) VOTE BUYING; 18:2 AIDING AND ABETTING
(a) Failure or refusal to permit casting or tabulation of vote
No person acting under color of law shall fail or refuse to permit any person to vote who is entitled to vote under any provision of chapters 103 to 107 of this title or is otherwise qualified to vote, or willfully fail or refuse to tabulate, count, and report such person's vote.
(b) Intimidation, threats, or coercion
No person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, shall intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for voting or attempting to vote, or intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for urging or aiding any person to vote or attempt to vote, or intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for exercising any powers or duties under section 10302(a), 10305, 10306, or 10308(e) of this title or section 1973d or 1973g of title 42.1
(c) False information in registering or voting; penalties
Whoever knowingly or willfully gives false information as to his name, address or period of residence in the voting district for the purpose of establishing his eligibility to register or vote, or conspires with another individual for the purpose of encouraging his false registration to vote or illegal voting, or pays or offers to pay or accepts payment either for registration to vote or for voting shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both: Provided, however, That this provision shall be applicable only to general, special, or primary elections held solely or in part for the purpose of selecting or electing any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, presidential elector, Member of the United States Senate, Member of the United States House of Representatives, Delegate from the District of Columbia, Guam, or the Virgin Islands, or Resident Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
(d) Falsification or concealment of material facts or giving of false statements in matters within jurisdiction of examiners or hearing officers; penalties
Whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of an examiner or hearing officer knowingly and willfully falsifies or conceals a material fact, or makes any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or representations, or makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
(e) Voting more than once
(1) Whoever votes more than once in an election referred to in paragraph (2) shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
(2) The prohibition of this subsection applies with respect to any general, special, or primary election held solely or in part for the purpose of selecting or electing any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, presidential elector, Member of the United States Senate, Member of the United States House of Representatives, Delegate from the District of Columbia, Guam, or the Virgin Islands, or Resident Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
(3) As used in this subsection, the term "votes more than once" does not include the casting of an additional ballot if all prior ballots of that voter were invalidated, nor does it include the voting in two jurisdictions under section 10502 of this title, to the extent two ballots are not cast for an election to the same candidacy or office.
Outcome: Defendants were each sentenced to one year in prison. In addition to the prison sentence, the former police chief was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. Today, an additional co-conspirator was sentenced to four months in prison for his role in the scheme.