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Winning Candidate Arrested in New Jersey Voter Fraud Case

4 years ago
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In what has become a topsy-turvy city council election in Paterson, N.J., the candidate who was declared the winner in May was arrested Thursday on a charge of witness tampering in a voter-fraud investigation being conducted by the state attorney general and the state criminal justice director.

The candidate, Rigo Rodriguez, 38, was arrested at his home in Paterson on Thursday morning along with his wife, Lissette, 31. His campaign manager, Juan Jimenez, 45, was also arrested. They were taken into custody by the New Jersey State Police and issued summonses before being released. They were ordered to appear at the Passaic County Superior Court, but a date has yet to be scheduled.

Criminal Justice Director Stephen Taylor said in a news release that each of the three was charged with third-degree witness tampering but that additional charges may be brought. On Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 people were arrested on charges of voter fraud.

"It is alleged that after the defendants became aware of an active investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice and State Police, they instructed voters as to how to answer police questions, including advising them to lying (sic) to police," a news release from Attorney General Paula Dow and Taylor said.

The investigation stems from the election in which Rodriguez, the incumbent councilman, originally was determined to be the loser to his opponent, Kenneth McDaniel. The result was reversed after 49 uncounted absentee ballots were uncovered. Then McDaniel raised questions of voter fraud, saying that ballots had been faked or tampered with.

In October, Superior Court Judge Thomas Brogan ruled that there was no evidence of impropriety in the election, but McDaniel appealed to Dow to investigate. This week, Dow found grounds for fraud, which could result in McDaniel ousting Rodriguez after all.

The 11 people who were arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday are accused of falsifying absentee ballots by writing in the names of voters without their knowledge, according to The Record newspaper. One woman is also accused of voting twice, under her married name and her maiden name. All 11 were issued complaint summonses and released, the attorney general said in a news release. They will be ordered to appear in court at a later date. The case is subject to presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.

Rodriguez was quoted by WCBS-TV in New York as saying: "I got nothing to do with it. I'm just a candidate. People voted for me."

When asked if he thought voter fraud had occurred, McDaniel told WCBS: "Oh, yes. No question. There were too many irregularities."

One of the defendants, Dalia Rodriguez, told WCBS: "It's not true. I didn't do nothing wrong."

She said that she supported Councilman Rodriguez but that she was not related to him.

If convicted, the suspects could face penalties of three to five years in prison and a fine of $15,000 or five to 10 years in prison and a fine of $150,000, depending on the charges.

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@ dbtraverso "Statistic support that 99% of all voter fraud in by Democrats"?! Get real. Have you forgotten the republican supported voter fraud in Florida that stole Bush his last term? C'mon..At least show some semblance of rationality. Voter fraud happens regardless of party affiliation by individuals with little or no moral compass or regard for the truth or law.

December 03 2010 at 12:47 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I didn't know that vote fraud was against the law in New Jersey. If there is a law how far back are they going to enforce it or was it a case that the wrong person wins then they'll enforce it.

December 03 2010 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There should be an in-depth investigation into all the November 2 elections. Voter fraud is so rampant in this country that it would take a major overhaul of the system to eliminate it. Voter registrations should be erased on January first of every presidential election year. People should have to re-register, with proper identification, before the primary elections. They also should ONLY be allowed to register in the community that is their LEGAL residence, the residence from which they file their federal income taxes. And to ensure more fair primary elections, all should be held on the same date of that year in every state. That would eliminate the present system in which many candidates are selected before many states have their primaries (Ohio is a good example of that). The voter fraud fiasco has gone on much too long in this country. It is long past the time for change.

December 03 2010 at 8:24 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Of course it was a Democrat. Statistics prove that when voter fraud is committed, it's a Dem 99% of the time. However, the truth is probably more like 100% of the time. Of course the liberal media does their best to hide that face.

December 03 2010 at 5:42 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It was okay to be done when Bush was elected. I distinctly remember the election went to Gore and then the same occurred in 2004. Mlust be true, the bigger the fraud the less chance of getting convicted.

December 03 2010 at 5:20 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

is there NOTHING that is NOT corrupt ANYWHERE in NEW JERSEY? Cops in patterson, Cops in jersey City, The Governor taking kickbacks, Atlantic City is a disaster. What the hell is wrong with jersey...Springsteen---don't you think it's time to RUN FOR OFFICE LOL

December 03 2010 at 5:13 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Zodnoyeb - Good post - exactly on point! If those arrested were Republicans, the reporter would have mentioned the fact in every paragraph! Another example of a biased media!

December 03 2010 at 5:10 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Why isn't the political party of these arrested persons stated in the article. Either the reporter is very sloppy or, is trying to conceal the affiliation in an effort to be "politically correct." I can almost guarantee the persons arrested for voter fraud in this case are - DEMOCRATS!

December 03 2010 at 5:08 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

The associated press today reported three more individuals have been arrested in the latest political corruption case in New Jersey. Patterson councilman at large Rigo Rodriguez, a Democrat, was arrested this morning along with his wife and former campaign manager. The latest arrests come two days after former Paterson mayor Jose “Joey” Torres was appointed by the Jackson Township Council for the position of township Business Administrator. Torres, a democrat, has not been implicated in any way to the scandal that has shaken his hometown.

December 03 2010 at 5:07 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It's not about political party affiliation at all. It is about upbringing and family background. This is "W"'s "Hispanic family values" for you. This is about the baggage that immigrants who either cannot or will not assimilate into American society drag along with them from the "old" country when they come here. Think about it people. This is the reason we need to do something abot illegal immigrants--like throw them all out.

December 03 2010 at 4:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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