Leslie McCrae Dowless was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with three counts of obstructing justice, two counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice and two counts of possession of ballot papers by correspondence , for irregularities in the Bladen County Ballots by the 2016 general election. and the 2018 primary election. Activities related to the 2018 general election remain under investigation, according to Wake County Attorney , Lorrin Freeman.
The Wake County grand jury released Tuesday indictments sealed against Leslie McCrae Dowless and several other people. CNN contacted a Dowless lawyer to comment. Investigators looked at Dowless's campaign work for different candidates in 2016 and 2018. More recently, Dowless worked for Mark Harris, the Republican candidate in 2018 for US House in North Carolina's 9th District.
The criminal investigation into ballot irregularities in Bladen and Robeson counties began about a year ago. In recent months, an investigation has also been conducted by the bipartisan election council of the state of North Carolina (NCSBE). The Wake County Attorney conducted the criminal investigation because of a conflict of interest declared by the Bladen County Attorney.
Last week, the NCSBE voted unanimously in favor of a new election. The executive director described the Dowless program as "an absentee, coordinated, illegal and resource-intensive voting system." Harris announced this week that he would not participate in the new elections, citing health reasons. His 2018 Democratic opponent, Dan McCready, has already launched his campaign. The council should set new dates for the primary and general elections in the coming days.
At the hearing held by the board last week, Harris said that he had hired Dowless – a convicted felon – specifically for his "mail-order program," while asserting that he was "out of control." he was unaware of any illegal activity. People who worked for Dowless swore to illegally collect ballot papers, forge witness signatures, and even to name the names of people left blank on unsealed ballots. Two women reported that Dowless told them to lie or plead on the 5th when they were called to appear for the hearing.
Dowless declined to testify at the NCSBE hearing but claimed that he had done nothing wrong. Last week, her lawyer, Cynthia Singletary, said, "Do I think he's guilty of this? No. There is always the possibility of charges being laid. did not think that they were guilty. "
An order set Dowless's pre-trial release terms at $ 30,000 and ordered him to have no contact with the people named in the indictments. The cases must be brought before a judge of the Wake County Superior Court on Monday, March 25.
Caitlyn E. Croom, Matthew Monroe Mathis, Tonia Gordon and Rebecca Thompson all face a charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice and a leader of possession of mail ballot.
Mathis faces additional charges for mistakenly signing the voter certificate on a mail ballot. CNN is trying to contact these people for their comments.