MAYS LANDING - More arrests are likely in a voter-fraud case involving supporters of failed Atlantic City mayoral candidate Marty Small, according to information from the state Attorney General's Office and a defense attorney.
Five people who collected votes for Small have been charged with mishandling messenger ballots and disenfranchising voters. The councilman has denied any connection to the workers.
Two of those defendants, Floyd Tally and David Callaway, appeared in court Monday. They are accused of fraudulently completing and submitting more than 130 messenger ballot applications. During the brief hearing, a new date was set for Sept. 10. By that time they should be indicted, according to officials.
The number of charges also could grow, according to those involved in the case.
"It looks like we're moving toward a multiple-count indictment on voter fraud," said Steven Scheffler, Callaway's attorney. "Probably more than 10 counts each."
Five messengers - Demaris Jones, Ramona Stephens, Yolanda Barrios, Frank Taylor and Ronald Harris - all had several of their ballots rejected, but have not been charged in the case.
In addition to Tally and Callaway, those charged are Michelle Griffin, of Pleasantville, and LuQuay Q. Zahir and Toni Dixon, both of Atlantic City. All but Zahir have a clear connection to the Callaway group, which raised messenger and absentee ballot collection a near art form.
The family claims that is the reason for the charges. While Attorney General Anne Milgram has said the defendants disenfranchised voters, Callaway's brother Ronald - who is better known as Jihad Q. Abdullah - previously said it is the state that is trying to disenfranchise the black voters who have used the method in Atlantic City.
"This is somewhat of a witch hunt," Scheffler agreed.
Tally is being defended by Linda Tassone in an unrelated blackmail case, but has not decided on his representation here, according to Tassone.
He likely will need someone, as the case appears headed to trial.
"That's probably where this case is going to end up - in a monthlong trial," Scheffler said. "That will be a burden on all the parties involved, including - unfortunately - the court system."
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