Paterson City Council Democrats Alex Mendez and Michael Jackson were initially charged last June along with fellow Council members Shelim Khalique and Abu Razyen.
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In a press conference this week, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the Democrat City Council members tried to interfere with a special election last year with an illegal ballot harvesting scheme.
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Two city council members in Paterson have been indicted for allegedly interfering with a special election last year, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced Wednesday, in a case cited by then-President Donald Trump in his unsuccessful lawsuit to try and invalidate voting by mail in New Jersey.
Alex Mendez won the special election to fill a council seat on May 12, but voter fraud claims soon surfaced. The state attorney general’s office initiated a probe after U.S. Postal Service inspectors said they found hundreds of mail-in ballots located in a mailbox in Paterson, along with more found in nearby Haledon.
Ultimately, the Passaic County Board of Elections decided not to count 800 ballots cast in the race and a judge ordered a new election for last November.
Mendez, 45, and Paterson City Councilman Michael Jackson, 49, were originally charged in a criminal complaint last June. Despite the pending criminal charges, Mendez won a tight race in November.
The indictments handed up last month charge Mendez and Jackson with multiple counts including election fraud, unauthorized possession of ballots and falsifying or tampering with public records. The state attorney general’s office alleged the men collected ballots from voters and delivered them to county officials, which candidates are prohibited from doing.