A News report from Lake Effect News
A Cook County judge handed down guilty verdicts in the bench trial of two political workers for Ald. Berny Stone on charges that they had allegedly tampered with absentee ballots stemming from the 2007 aldermanic race in Chicago’a 50th Ward.
Anish Eapen, the former ward Streets and Sanitation superintendent, and Armando Ramos, a paid campaign worker for Stone’s political campaign committee, were both found guilty of multiple Class A misdemeanor counts of attempted mutilation of voting materials and attempted absentee ballot violations.
Both men were facing more serious felony charges that they had engineered absentee ballots of mostly immigrant voters in the 50th Ward favoring Stone. Stone was not charged with any wrongdoing.
“There is a difference between law and justice,” Judge Marcus Salone said. “Sometimes we ruin lives and sometimes we punish.”
Thursday’s verdicts conclude a long and often complicated trial that began in November, for an election that took place almost four years ago.
Ramos was found guilty on 20 different counts, including one count of attempted mutilation of voting materials and 19 counts of attempted absentee ballot violations.
Eapen was found guilty on nine different counts, including one count of attempted mutilation of voting materials and eight counts of attempted absentee ballot violation.
Salone said there was no doubt in his mind that Eapen had attempted to influence voters in the 50th Ward.
Both men were ordered to have their affairs in order for their sentencing on Aug. 4. Their attorneys also have the option of requesting a new trial at that time.
Eapen and Ramos face up to one year of jail time, two years of probation, fines or a combination of all three.
Lead prosecutor Lynn McCarthy for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said she was happy with the outcome.
“I’m happy that they were both found guilty,” she said.