Guilty pleas in a Louisiana vote-buying case

July 21, 2022 GMT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two officials from a small Louisiana city face November sentencing dates after pleading guilty in federal court in a vote-buying case.

Court records show former Amite City police chief Jerry Trabona and current Amite City Council member Kristian “Kris” Hart pleaded guilty Wednesday in New Orleans to charges that they offered to pay people to vote for them.

In the federal indictment, prosecutors said the men arranged for money and a list of candidates, including themselves, to be delivered to voters. The indictment did not identify the voters who received money, the intermediaries used to deliver money and candidate lists or the other candidates on the lists.

Trabona pleaded guilty to one conspiracy count. Hart pleaded guilty to the same count, which involved the 2016 election, and three counts involving elections in 2016 and 2020.

The Justice Department said Thursday that each count carries a possible prison sentence of up to five years.