Sunday, July 4, 2010

Former Dodge County Sheriff and Deputy Sentenced for 2004 Election Fraud

MICHAEL LAWTON DOUGLAS, JR., 38, the former Sheriff of Dodge County, and OLIN NORMAN GIBSON, 44, a former Dodge County Deputy Sheriff, were sentenced June 28 before The Honorable Dudley H. Bowen, Jr., United States District Judge, at the federal courthouse in Dublin, Georgia.

At an earlier change-of-plea hearing, Douglas pled guilty to conspiring to buy votes and to vote more than once in connection with his election in 2004 as Dodge County Sheriff. Gibson pled guilty to buying votes for Douglas during that election. Evidence at the hearing established that Douglas provided money to various supporters, including Gibson, to be used to pay hundreds of voters to vote for him in the election. Douglas’s supporters also paid voters for absentee ballots, and in particular blank absentee ballots, in order to fill those ballots out for Douglas and cast them improperly in the election. Douglas was elected as Dodge County Sheriff in 2004 and served as Sheriff until his re-election campaign was defeated in 2008.

Judge Bowen today sentenced Douglas to 18 months in prison to be followed by a three year term of supervised release. Douglas was additionally ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and complete 150 hours of community service. Gibson received four months in prison, a three year term of supervised release, a $1,000 fine, and 150 hours of community service.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “Election fraud strikes at the very heart of our democracy. This office and our law enforcement partners will exercise zero tolerance in our efforts to apprehend and prosecute those who seek to steal or dilute the constitutional rights of citizens in the electoral process.”

U.S. Attorney Tarver recognized the efforts of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation, and particularly GBI Special Agent Eve Rodgers and FBI Special Agent Ed Sutcliff.

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