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Courts

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White’s call for special investigator is rejected

White
Richards

– Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards found the only thing suspicious about embattled Secretary of State Charlie White’s request for an investigation into a special prosecutor was the timing.

On Wednesday, Richards declined White’s request to investigate allegations that special prosecutor Daniel Sigler Sr. committed voter fraud.

He asked that Richards appoint a special prosecutor to investigate.

Sigler, a former Adams County prosecutor, is one of two special prosecutors handling the criminal case against White.

In March, a grand jury indicted White on seven counts including voter fraud, theft, perjury and fraud on a financial institution.

He is accused of lying about his Fishers address when he voted in the 2010 Republican primary.

In spite of pressure, White has refused to resign. Tuesday, the Indiana Recount Commission held a hearing on whether he was legally registered to vote when he ran for office.

The separate criminal trial is scheduled for Aug. 8.

In a brief statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Richards said, based on White’s allegations, there is no reason to believe a criminal offense occurred in Allen County, and so there’s no reason to appoint a special prosecutor.

But White said he’s had to answer questions about his personal life and feels Sigler should as well.

“I’ve answered questions and took me and my family through the probe,” White said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “He should have clean hands.”

White’s complaint centers on Sigler’s wife, ex-wife, property transactions and when they had such changes during the election cycle.

In an email response, White said he finds the timing of Sigler’s activities strange.

“I believe that Mr. Sigler, Sr. did not register nor vote properly in the fall of 2008 and find the timing of his registration suspicious during the my grand jury in march of 2011. I will continue to demand answers on this,” White wrote.

“The old tired lines of ‘sour grapes,’ ‘nonsense,’ ‘smokescreen,’ etc. are unacceptable.”

In the subsequent telephone interview, White said he wants there to be no double standard.

When asked what his reasoning was for why he filed the complaint with Richards’ office, White said that Sigler had gone after White and his family.

But his inquiry was not out of retribution, he said.

White believes the majority of Indiana voters find the case against him and its prosecution to be a joke.

“I’m trying to protect the taxpayer dollars because they really think this whole thing is dumb,” he said, adding that the Hamilton County prosecutors office didn’t seem to care about a series of rape cases but sent three prosecutors after him.

He said he researched the other prosecutors working on the case – Dan J. Sigler Jr. and John Dowd, the former Warren County prosecutor. Their homes lined up perfectly with their voting registration records, White said.

White said he has “not yet” filed a similar complaint regarding Sigler Sr. in Whitley County, one of the places he has lived.

After a preliminary investigation into White’s allegations, Richards found no reason to appoint a special prosecutor.

“There is no evidence to suggest a criminal act took place,” Richards said. “There needs to be some reason to believe a crime occurred in order to request a special prosecutor. There was absolutely nothing in what he sent me.

“I think, given that he’s being prosecuted by Mr. Sigler, anytime you see a defendant take a personal interest in criticizing a prosecutor publicly, that always looks suspicious,” Richards said.

Dan Sigler Sr. said he was not surprised by Richards’ decision, but was grateful for the speed by which she reached it.

“I said all along this was done to try to discredit the prosecution and/or me,” Sigler said. “And it was done with a point of view affecting public opinion, and those things can’t and shouldn’t work when public officials are doing their job.”

rgreen@jg.net

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