Pennsylvania (CNN) (07/24/20)— Former Congressman Michael “Ozzie” Myers was charged on Tuesday with conspiring to violate federal voting rights, bribery of an election official and falsification of records, as part of a scam to stuff the ballot box.
The Justice Department unsealed the indictment on Thursday. Myers was expelled from Congress in 1980 after taking bribes from an undercover FBI agent as a part of the ABSCAM investigation.
Myers, age 77, conspired with and bribed the former judge of elections for Philadelphia’s 39th Ward, 36th Division, Domenick J. Demuro, to illegally add votes for certain candidates in the Democratic Party during primary elections from 2014 to 2016, according to the Justice Department.
Myers and Demuro are both Democrats. Myers’ attorney Arnold Silverstein declined to comment on the matter when reached by CNN.
Demuro, age 73, pleaded guilty in federal court in Philadelphia during a sealed proceeding in March, according to a Justice Department news release.
Myers, working as a political consultant, bribed Demuro to add votes for certain candidates in separate primary elections in 2014, 2015, and 2016, according to the indictment.
Some of the candidates Myers bribed Demuro to add votes for were his clients, others were “candidates for various federal, state, and local elective offices whom Myers favored for a variety of reasons,” the Justice Department news release states.
After Demuro received payments of “between $300 to $5,000 per election” from Myers, Demuro would add “fraudulent votes” on the voting machines for Myers’ clients and select candidates, the Justice Department alleged.
Demuro would then add these fake votes to the totals on Election Day, later falsely certifying the voting machine results as accurate, according to the release.
“Transparent and fair elections are integral to the proper functioning of our democracy,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Driscoll of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division in a news release.
“Those who seek to corrupt the vote threaten the public’s trust in the process and must be brought to justice. The FBI is determined to protect the integrity of our electoral system.”
Myers is charged with conspiring to violate voting rights by fraudulently stuffing ballot boxes, bribery of an election official, falsification of records, voting more than once in federal elections, and obstruction of justice, according to the release.
He is also charged with directing Demuro to lie “about the circumstances of the bribes and the ballot-stuffing scheme to investigators,” the release states.
Myers served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1976 to 1980. He became the fourth person to be expelled from Congress in 1980 after being convicted of bribery for receiving a payment “in return for promising to use official influence on immigration bills” in the ABSCAM investigation, when undercover agents offered bribes to several members of Congress, according to a Congressional Research Service report.
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