2nd person pleads guilty in St. Joe Co. election fraud case

It is half the case it was just two weeks ago.

Half of the four original Democratic defendants in St. Joseph County‘s election fraud case have now pleaded guilty.

“Pam Brunette pled guilty to three charges,” said Special Prosecutor Stanley Levco.

Today, Brunette was described as a principal in the alleged election fraud scheme as opposed to an accomplice.

She not only admitted forging signatures on petitions that helped get Barack Obama on the 2008 Primary Election ballot: As the highest ranking Democrat in the St. Joseph County Voter Registration Office at the time, she used her position to certify those forged signatures as legitimate.

“There’s no agreement, it’s what’s called an open plea, she is, in a sense, throwing herself on the mercy of the court,” said Stanley Levco.

With the trial date now less than two weeks away (April 22nd), the two women charged in the case have both pleaded guilty. The two men charged in the case Dustin Blythe and Butch Morgan) both confirmed today that they plan to go to trial.

Having one less defendant in the case arguably means there is one more star witness available for the prosecution to call.

“I anticipate that she’s going to testify, but that’s not part of the agreement, that’s not part of, since there is no agreement, I have a right to subpoena her and I assume she’ll answer the subpoena,” said Special Prosecutor Levco.

At the end of March, former voter registration worker Beverly Shelton did reach a plea agreement in which she admitted to Forgery and agree to testify for the prosecution. In exchange, the prosecution agreed it would not recommend that jail time be part of her sentence.

Brunette pleaded guilty to felony counts of Forgery, Falsely Making a Petition, and Official Misconduct. In exchange, three other counts were dismissed.

While Brunette’s maximum sentence could be ten years behind bars, her attorney asked for community corrections.

Brunette’s sentencing is set for May 9th.

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