MAYS LANDING — The 12 remaining defendants accused of voter fraud in Atlantic City Councilman Marty Small’s failed mayoral bid have two more weeks to decide whether they want to take a plea deal or head to trial.
Small and 13 others were indicted in September on charges they broke election laws during the 2009 Democratic primary. Two men have since pleaded guilty.
The remaining defendants were originally given until Monday to accept a plea, but that has been extended to Aug. 30 to allow Superior Court Judge James Isman to hear several motions to dismiss the charges next week. Anyone who does not plead is scheduled to go to trial in the fall, with jury selection to begin Oct. 4.
David Callaway and Floyd Tally — who are both currently serving unrelated sentences in state prison — are among those who will argue next week that the indictments should be dismissed. No motions have been filed on Small’s behalf. He has maintained his innocence, and his attorney, Ed Jacobs Jr., has said he plans to take the case to trial.
Most of the defendants were indicted on nine counts, including conspiracy and four counts of election fraud. Small and three others were also accused of lying to law enforcement in an effort to cover up their crimes.
In October, Ronald Harris, 24, of Atlantic City, admitted he and others conspired to submit false documents involving messenger ballots in the primary. Harris, a registered Democrat, later told a reporter he only pleaded guilty out of fear.
Earlier this month, Ernest Storr, 44, not only admitted to breaking election laws during Small’s campaign, but said he did the same thing while helping then-Mayor Scott Evans in his unsuccessful bid in 2008. Although both campaigns were for Democrats, Storr is a registered Republican, according to voter records.
The Press of Atlantic City reported in June that taped conversations Edward Colon Jr. made for state investigators while working inside the Small campaign include discussions Storr had.
“I just have the people bring the ballot to me, and I fill them out,” Storr told Colon during an April 2009 meeting, the report states. “I just did it myself, that way I knew.”
When Colon said most of the Hispanic voters are older and are unaware of who the candidates are, the report says Storr replied: “Just get the ballot and have them sign it.”
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