A Philadelphia elections judge has been charged after allegedly working with a political consultant to “stuff” ballot boxes in favor of Democratic candidates during three primary contests, taking bribes to cast fraudulent votes.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) brought two counts against former Judge of Elections Domenick DeMuro, stating he accepted cash payments from a consultant to stuff ballots for Democratic judicial candidates during primary races in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Though DeMuro’s court case is already underway in a sealed proceeding, the DOJ first announced the charges on Thursday.
“DeMuro fraudulently stuffed the ballot box by literally standing in a voting booth and voting over and over, as fast as he could, while he thought the coast was clear,” US Attorney William McSwain said in a statement, noting that his office would take “every possible step that we can to ensure the integrity” of upcoming elections.
The indicted judge took between $300 and $5,000 for each election, raised by a Democratic political consultant – an unnamed former elected official – who was hired and paid by the candidates themselves, the DOJ said. The department declined to name the candidates helped in the scheme, and did not say whether any knowingly took part.
“The political consultant would solicit monetary payments from his clients in the form of cash or checks as ‘consulting fees,’ and then use portions of these funds to pay Election Board Officials, including DeMuro, in return for tampering with the election results,” the Justice Department statement went on.
DeMuro now faces one count of “conspiracy to deprive Philadelphia voters of their civil rights,” and another for violating the Travel Act, which the DOJ says “forbids the use of any facility in interstate commerce (here, a cell phone) with the intent to promote certain illegal activity (here, bribery).” Facing up to 15 years in prison, DeMuro has admitted to taking payments from the consultant and filed a guilty plea. He will be sentenced in late June.
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