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The Berkshires

Deliberations to continue in Troy voter fraud case on Wednesday

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Albany/HV: Deliberations to continue in Troy voter fraud case on Wednesday
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A second day of jury deliberations in the retrial of a Rensselaer County Elections commissioner accused of forging ballots is done. The jury will be back Wednesday. Lori Chung has more.

TROY, N.Y. -- Another day of deliberations brought no verdict in the ballot fraud case against Rensselaer County Democratic Elections Commissioner Edward McDonough. The jury only asked to hear testimony from a key prosecution witness again.

“That was the read back of the testimony of Mary Ellen LaPlante, who’s a former registrar at the board of elections,” said special prosecutor Trey Smith. “She was there on September 15, 2009.”

That’s when prosecutors say Smith helped to file phony ballots to help democrats secure the Working Families Party line. LaPlante’s testimony was key to establishing the procedure for handling the ballot applications at the center of the case. Specifically, “how she would handle the blank excuse field which was, she would contact the voter.”

Something prosecutors say McDonough did not do. But the defense takes a whole other view of her testimony.

“Mary Ellen LaPlante’s testimony was very significant and damning to the prosecution,” said Brian Premo, McDonough’s attorney.

Premo says the testimony did more to reflect their point of view that McDonough was hardworking and engaged at the board of elections.

“She confirmed what we know and that is she’s never witnessed anybody commit a crime at the board of elections and so forth so it was very good testimony for the defense,” said Premo.

Even though both attorneys say that the testimony helped to bolster, neither one would say whether the request for that testimony indicated whether jurors were leaning towards an acquittal or whether they were leaning towards returning a guilty verdict on the 62 forgery and possession charges that McDonough is facing.

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