Woman sentenced to jail for part in vote fraud case that got commissioner re-elected
A Dothan woman was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison—a term later amended---for her part in a voter fraud scheme that got a city commissioner re-elected.
Lesa Coleman is one of four people arrested for falsely witnessing absentee ballots in the 2013 municipal election. Of 124 absentees cast, Commissioner Amos Newsome received 119 votes in the District 2 contest.
Houston County Circuit Judge Henry D. “Butch” Binford opted to give Coleman a split sentence---180 days in the county jail followed by probation. While handcuffed and taken to the county jail, Coleman was expected to be released later Wednesday on an appeal bond.
"I think the judge understood the state’s position citizen’s rights were deprived and that is wrong," said Assistant District Attorney Banks T. Smith.
When led from the courtroom, Coleman was asked by WTVY/WRGX reporter Ken Curtis if she believes Newsome—who was not charged---is getting off light. She refused to answer.
Coleman is one of four people, including Newsome’s longtime girlfriend, arrested in the alleged voter fraud scheme after a lengthy and complex investigation by the Houston County Sheriff’s Office.
Olivia Reynolds—the commissioner’s girlfriend---and another person have yet to be tried. Defendant Janice Hart pleaded guilty earlier this year and was sentenced to probation.
While Newsome was not implicated legally, multiple sources tell WTVY/WRGX that consideration is being given to filing a lawsuit seeking to remove him from office. It’s not immediately clear who would file the suit.
Lamesa Danzey, who lost to Newsome, filed a lawsuit following the election but later dropped the case.
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