Former Amite City police chief and council member face prison for vote buying


TANGIPAHOA PARISH, La. ( WGNO ) — Former Amite City Police Chief Jerry Trabona, and a former Amite city council member, Kristen Hart, have been convicted in a voting buying scheme.

The former police chief and council member were both sentenced to a year in prison for violating federal election laws as part of a conspiracy to pay, or offer to pay, voters for voting in a federal election. Additionally, the former police chief was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.

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A co-conspirator, Sidney Smith, was also sentenced to four months in prison for his role in offering money to voters for their votes.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Trabona and Hart paid, or offered to pay, voters in Tangipahoa Parish in the 2016 elections.

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The crime included the solicitation and hiring of individuals responsible for identifying potential voters and transportation of those voters to the polls.

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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