Virginia Prosecutors Drop Felony Charges Against 2020 Election Official

A key witness changed his story, leaving the Commonwealth ‘with significant inconsistent statements,’ the motion states.
Virginia Prosecutors Drop Felony Charges Against 2020 Election Official
A voter casts their ballot in the Kentucky Primary Elections at Central High School on May 16, 2023, in Louisville, Ky. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)
Sam Dorman

A judge on Dec. 1 approved Virginia prosecutors’ request to drop two felony charges in the case of a Prince William County election worker who allegedly misreported results in 2020.

The Commonwealth’s motion stated that one of its key witnesses, Sean Mulligan, had changed his story, leaving the Commonwealth “with significant inconsistent statements.”

“In preparation for the scheduled jury trial, the Commonwealth interviewed Sean Mulligan, a key witness for the prosecution who had been previously interviewed by investigators of the Office of the Attorney General,” read the motion for nolle prosequi (no prosecution) from Assistant Attorney General James R. Herring.

“During the interview yesterday in preparation for the trial, Mr. Mulligan conveniently and quite surprisingly provided a different version of events from that which he had previously provided to investigators.”

It’s unclear what Mr. Mulligan told prosecutors.

Michele White, former Prince William County registrar of voters, was indicted in September of 2022 with two felony counts—corrupt conduct by an election officer in violation of Virginia Code § 24.2-1001 and false statement in violation of Virginia Code § 24.2-1016. Her misdemeanor count of neglect of duty by an election officer also fell under § 24.2-1001.

Her trial is set to start on Jan. 16, 2024, in Prince William Circuit Circuit Court. On Dec. 1, a judge set the timeframe for Jan. 16 to 19, but stated it could potentially go into another week. Defense attorney Zachary Stafford had requested a shorter trial period and indicated a second week wouldn’t be needed.

The judge also set a deadline for both sides to file motions by Dec. 15, with responses due Dec. 29 and a pre-trial hearing on Jan. 3.

Attorney General Jason Miyares’ office didn’t initially specify how Ms. White committed the crimes, which allegedly took place between August and December of 2020, but later said she altered election results within the state reporting system.
In a motion obtained by Just the News, prosecutors had asked to unseal the November 2020 election records. The unsealing occurred in March, with records provided to the prosecution and defense to review, according to filings. Also in March, the defense filed a motion for more specific information, alleging prosecutors “didn’t provide enough information for undersigned counsel to identify with particularity the criminal conduct alleged by the Commonwealth in each of the three indictments.”
Ms. White has denied doing anything “wrong or illegal,” according to The Washington Post.

She reportedly accused the governor of using her prosecution to push his new election integrity unit, which was rolled out two days after Mr. Miyares’ office announced charges against Ms. White.

“Now that we have a Republican governor, who is out campaigning for other Republican governors who claim the election was stolen, I feel that my unexplained resignation and the personal agendas of a few aggrieved staff have created an opportunity for the Governor to use me as a way to show a need for the Election Integrity Unit,” she reportedly said via text message. “It’s just a good show.”

In a statement, she described the charges as “an attack against me, other Directors of Election, Electoral Board members, and Election Officers who serve the voting public and manage elections in Virginia.”

Ms. White resigned from the Prince William County elections board in April of 2021 upon the board’s request. It’s unclear why they made the request.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares speaks at a Republican rally in Leesburg, Va., on Nov. 6, 2023. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)
Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares speaks at a Republican rally in Leesburg, Va., on Nov. 6, 2023. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)

Victoria LaCivita, Mr. Miyares’ spokeswoman, said it was “utterly false” to describe the indictments are “politically motivated,” noting they were issued by a grand jury. The unit’s announcement was timed to coincide with Virginia early voting rather than Ms. White’s charges, Ms. LaCivita said.

Eric Olsen, who succeeded Ms. White as registrar, claimed that he triggered an investigation in April of 2022 when he reported alleged discrepancies he found while going through documents in the office.

Mr. Olsen released a statement in 2022 claiming that Ms. White’s “conduct did not impact the outcome of any election contest.”

“In 2022, the Electoral Board and new Director of Elections have built an entirely new leadership team that is dedicated to fair and accurate elections,” he said.

“Many improvements and best practices have been adopted to ensure a safe and transparent voting experience for the voters of Prince William County. It was the new Director of Elections that reported these discrepancies to the Commissioner of Elections and State Board of Elections earlier this year, which led to this investigation by the Attorney General of Virginia.

“The Office of Elections has no further comment at this time as this is pending litigation, and our office will preserve the office’s records for public review when the matter has concluded. Thank you.”

Sam Dorman is a Washington correspondent covering courts and politics for The Epoch Times. You can follow him on X at @EpochofDorman.
Related Topics