Trio sentenced, including former police chief and city council member in 2016 vote-buying case
AMITE, La. (WAFB) - A former Amite City police chief and an Amite city council member were sentenced on Tuesday, November 29 to one year in prison for violating federal election laws, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Former Amite City Police Chief Jerry Trabone, 73, and former councilman Kristian “Kris” Hart, 50, were sentenced as part of a conspiracy to pay. or offering to pay, voters for voting in a federal election according to the DOJ.
In addition to the prison sentence, Chief Trabona must pay a $10K fine. Another co-conspirator was also sentenced to four months in prison for his role.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial Trabone and Hart 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, DOJ officials said.
The voter 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, officials said. In the 2016 election, co-conspirator Sidney Smith, 69, of Amite City, paid voters with money provided by Trabona and Hart, according to the DOJ.
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.
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