NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) - A Hamilton County court magistrate entered a not guilty plea Friday for Indiana’s top elections official, who was indicted last week on seven felony counts including voter fraud.
Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White told reporters before entering a suburban Indianapolis courtroom that he was “absolutely innocent” and repeated that he had no intention of resigning from the post he’s held since January as Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels and others have called on him to do.
“There’s no reason to step down,” White said, his attorney at his side.
He would have to resign if he was convicted.
White has been accused of lying about his address on various documents and faces an Aug. 8 trial. A grand jury has charged him with seven felony counts including three counts of voter fraud, two counts of perjury and one count each of theft and financial fraud.
Prosecutors contend that White voted in last May’s Republican primary after moving out of his ex-wife’s home in Fishers. White has previously acknowledged the voting error, chalking it up to his busy schedule and new marriage.
He is charged with theft for allegedly continuing to collect a salary from the Fishers town council after he was no longer eligible to serve on it. The financial fraud charge pertains to allegations that White lied under oath about his address on loan documents.
Indiana Democrats called attention to the address discrepancy after White voted in the primary. They contend White intentionally skirted the law to keep his seat on the town council.
If convicted of the financial fraud charge, White could be sentenced to up to eight years in prison. The other six charges carry maximum penalties of six months to three years in prison.
His indictment came little more than two months after White took office and four months after he won the November election with 57 percent of the vote over Democrat Vop Osili.