NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two former officials in south Louisiana have been sentenced to a year in prison as part of a scheme to pay voters during a federal election, authorities said.
Jerry Trabona, 73, the former police chief in Amite City, and Kristian Hart, 50, a former councilmember, pleaded guilty in July to violating federal election laws, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release Wednesday.
Trabona was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
Trabona and Hart agreed to pay — or offer to pay — Tangipahoa Parish voters to cast ballots during the 2016 primary election and the 2016 general election, according to court documents and evidence presented at trial. Each was a candidate in those elections, officials said. Their vote-buying scheme included soliciting and hiring people to identify potential voters, transporting them to the polls and either paying or making promises of payment to voters.
A co-conspirator, Sidney Smith, 69, also of Amite City, paid voters with money provided by Trabona and Hart in the 2016 election, federal prosecutors said. He was sentenced to four months in prison for his role in the scheme.
Calvin Batiste and Louis Ruffino, who previously pleaded guilty for their involvement in the scheme, are awaiting sentencing, authorities said.