Updated: Saturday, 04 Feb 2012, 8:09 PM EST
Published : Saturday, 04 Feb 2012, 2:28 AM EST
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WANE/WISH) - Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White was found guilty early Saturday morning of felony voter fraud charges.
The jury began deliberating after lunch Friday and returned the verdict around 2:20 a.m. Saturday.
White, the state’s chief election officer, was found guilty of six out of seven felony counts. The jury found him not guilty on a charge of fraud against a financial institution.
"We believe it was about someone who violated the law that had knowledge of the system and gamed the system and obviously the jury believed the same thing and they found him guilty," said Hamilton County Special Prosecutor, John Dowd.
White will be sentenced at a later date.
"Well I'm obviously disappointed with the decision. I'm disappointed for my family and for people who supported me. We will actually review all of our options. There are a lot of things we've objected to throughout this time and live to fight another day," said White.
A guilty verdict means that Charlie White can no longer serve as secretary of state.
Governor Mitch Daniels released the following statement once the verdict came down:
“Effective immediately, I have appointed Jerry Bonnet, a Secretary of State employee since 2005, and currently chief deputy, to serve as Secretary of State on an interim basis. This is an exceptionally busy time in the Secretary of State’s office as signatures for president, U.S. Senate and governor are being certified this month. Jerry, a Yorktown native, has agreed to serve until I either select someone else to serve the remainder of the current term or until the prior occupant is reinstated.
“I have chosen not to make a permanent appointment today out of respect for the judge’s authority to lessen the verdict to a misdemeanor and reinstate the elected office holder. If the felony convictions are not altered, I anticipate making a permanent appointment quickly.
“Jerry Bonnet is a longtime employee who absolutely knows what should be done to provide the effective supervision and oversight the office requires.”
Bonnett has agreed to serve until Daniels either selects someone else to serve the remainder of the current term or until White is reinstated, the governor said.
However, it's likely Democrats will turn to the courts in an effort to prevent a Daniels selection. That's because a Democratic Party challenge to White's election has already produced a ruling from Judge Louis Rosenberg that calls for the Republican White to be removed and replaced by the second place finisher in the 2010 election, Democrat Vop Osili, who now serves on the Indianapolis City County Council.
Rosenberg's ruling is on hold by order of the state Supreme Court. And it is the Supreme Court that will likely decide how White's replacement will be chosen.
The indictment alleges White was registered at his ex-wife's home when he voted in the May primary even though he lived at a new townhouse on the other side of Fishers. He admits the mistake but denies an effort to deceive calling the incident “an honest mistake."
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