GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Federal prosecutors in North Carolina announced voter fraud charges Wednesday against 19 non-citizens accused of illegally casting a ballot in 2016.
Each defendant voted in a federal election in 2016, and one defendant also voted in 2018, according to a news release from United States Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin’s office. In some instances, the defendants were also charged with related offenses such as making a false statement.
The news release did not list the defendants' nationalities or say how their alleged crimes had been uncovered, although it said the matters had been investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, an investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
Brief charging documents provided few details about any of the allegations. Many defendants did not have an attorney listed in court records.
The Associated Press attempted to contact all defense attorneys who were listed, reaching only two.
Helen Parsonage, who is representing three of the defendants, declined comment on the merits of the charges but said her clients would be "vigorously defended.”
"These cases are clearly timed for partisan political purposes,” she wrote in an email.
Another attorney, J. Scott Coalter, declined comment on his client's behalf but noted he found it “rare to have the U.S. attorney for the Middle District handling misdemeanor cases.”
A conviction of voting by a non-citizen, a misdemeanor, carries a maximum term of one year imprisonment, a fine not to exceed $100,000, or both.