Political activist refuses plea over voter fraud

Posted at 6:49 PM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-14 08:57:38-04

Grand Island political activist Rus Thompson has been at the forefront of several Republican and Tea Party issues, but Thompson now finds himself in the center of a criminal case accusing him of a felony crime of False Registration under Election Law.

Prosecutors say Thompson, who had been living in Niagara Falls, illegally voted in the Grand Island primary and general elections by using a voter affidavit with a false address.

Thompson had no comment on advice of his lawyer, but his statements on social media claim he was illegally evicted from his Grand Island address and was not aware that his name had been removed from voter rolls on Grand Island.

In State Supreme Court in Buffalo, Thompson rejected a plea arrangement and chose to have the matter go to a Erie County Grand Jury instead.

Several supporters appeared with Thompson, including Carl Paladino, who voiced outrage on what they said was a patriot being persecuted.

Acting District Attorney Michael Flaherty, Jr addressed reporters after the court action.

"We do not receive many referrals of voter fraud, but when we do, we will act on them and prosecute them, no matter who the person is or who their friends are."

If indicted and the matter goes to trial, Thompson could face up to four years in prison if convicted.

Watch Ed Reilly's report to hear more.