Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Former Democratic Voter Registration Worker Claims Top Democratic Leader Conceived Petition-Forging Scheme
A 27-year old former Democratic worker in the St. Joseph Co. Voter Registration office today took the stand in the trial of former Democratic Chairman Butch Morgan and Dustin Blythe, a fellow worker in the Voter Registration office. According to Lucas Burkett, Morgan concocted a plan to forge signatures on the presidential nominating petitions of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during Indiana's 2008 presidential primary.
South Bend's ABC57 News reports that Burkett participated in the signature forging scheme for about a week before he decided it was illegal and would no longer participate. Morgan had instructed Burkett and other Democratic workers in the office to forge signatures on nominating petitions during their lunch hour Burkett testified. Burkett said he didn't speak to authorities about the illegal scheme until 2010 after he ran into an old classmate, attorney Andrew Jones, who convinced him to go to authorities.
Burkett said he had been afraid to report the illegal scheme to authorities because he was being questioned in an unrelated ghost employment case and feared charges would be brought against him. Burkett claims that Morgan told him that he had worked out a deal with St. Joseph Co. Prosecutor Mike Dvorak not to charge him if he remained silent. Dvorak, who had the case reassigned to special prosecutor Stanley Levco after learning his name had been implicated in the case, testified today that he had made no such deal with Morgan. Dvorak's signature was among hundreds of voters whose names were forged on the petitions.
Two former Democratic voter registration workers have already pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme. Pam Brunette and Beverly Shelton are expected to testify tomorrow.