The Norman Transcript

December 1, 2012

Roberts’ witnesses plead the Fifth

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Several witnesses subpoenaed by House District 45 Democratic candidate Paula Roberts pleaded the Fifth on the stand before Judge Tracy Schumacher on Friday during the second day of testimony and evidential hearing in Roberts’ petition alleging election irregularities.

Roberts, former Cleveland County Election Secretary, lost the House District 45 race to Republican incumbent Aaron Stiles by a narrow margin.

After conferring with attorneys, those witnesses — who had been subpoenaed by Roberts’ legal team based on their change of residency — all claimed their Fifth Amendment rights to protection from self incrimination.

People who vote illegally can be charged with a felony.

Greg Bledsoe, Roberts’ attorney, objected, saying there is case law to support that voters who were not informed or who were misinformed would likely be exempt from prosecution. Bledsoe stipulated that in some cases, the voters told Barry Roberts they had called the election board and were told they could vote at their former precincts.

The judge had the witnesses consult with attorneys prior to being called to the stand.

Jessica Carnes, one of the witnesses who pleaded the Fifth was visibly shaken.

“I’m not very happy about it,” Carnes said. “I didn’t know this was what I was being brought to court for.

Carnes said she didn’t know she was doing anything wrong when she voted.

“I’m a Democrat and I voted full Democrat but the Democrats are the ones who brought me to court so I’m not very thrilled.”

Other voters expressed consternation that their lives were interrupted over what they perceived to be partisan politics.

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