A supporter of Donald Trump is facing allegations of voter fraud relating to the 2020 presidential election and the 2022 midterm elections. His defense attorney claims that his client unintentionally cast votes in both Ohio and Florida.
The man in question, James Saunders, a 56-year-old ex-IRS attorney residing in Shaker Heights, is known to have voted in both Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and Broward County, Florida. He has been registered to vote in both locations for over ten years. Yet, his defense attorney, Scott Roger Hurley, a public defender, contended during his Wednesday closing arguments that Saunders didn’t intentionally violate the law, as reported by Cleveland.com.
These accusations of voter fraud coincide with Donald Trump’s ongoing efforts to run for president in 2024, despite facing multiple legal obstacles and having been indicted twice. Trump has consistently claimed that the 2020 election, which he lost to President Joe Biden, was fraudulent. However, no evidence supporting these allegations has been provided, and over 50 lawsuits from Trump and his supporters claiming election fraud have been dismissed by courts.
Hurley, representing Saunders, pleaded with Judge Andrew Santoli in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to exonerate his client, emphasizing that human error and accidental actions are realities of life.
However, Assistant County Prosecutor Andrew Rogalski countered Hurley’s argument, suggesting its credibility would be stronger if Saunders, who is facing two voter fraud charges, had made the error once, not twice. Rogalski stated, per Cleveland.com, that the repetition of this act in two separate general elections steers ‘accidental’ into the realm of implausible doubt, rather than reasonable doubt.
Ohio’s Secretary of State, Frank LaRosa, passed several names, including Saunders’, to Attorney General Dave Yost for prosecution. Yet, only Saunders has been charged in Cuyahoga County at this point.
Records show that Saunders regularly contributed to Trump’s re-election efforts and other right-leaning political organizations.
Rogalski emphasized that the details of Saunders’ votes remain confidential and irrelevant. He said, “The act of casting a ballot, even if you leave it blank, is what’s counted as a vote in Broward County and Cuyahoga County.”
During the trial on Wednesday, testimony was given by three witnesses, including election officials from Cuyahoga County and Broward County, along with an agent from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations who was involved in examining the case. Judge Santoli will give a ruling on the case during a hearing scheduled for August 8.