Annette Bosworth, a former Republican US Senate candidate, was convicted by a jury on Wednesday for violating the election law of South Dakota. The jury convicted her on all six counts, including perjury and filing false documents.
Bosworth, 43, was accused of having attested to signatures on the 2014 campaign documents that she couldn’t have possibly witnessed. The prosecutors proved the Sioux Falls physician was out of the United States on a medical trip at the time some of the signatures were gathered. According to South Dakota law, a candidate must actually witness when voters are giving their signature.
“This verdict is very significant in that the jury sends the message that our electoral process is very sacred and the integrity of the process has to be protected,” argued Deputy Attorney General Robert Mayer.
Bosworth eventually had to admit that she wasn’t present when some of the signatures were gathered. However, she argued that it was never her intention to mislead anyone when she attested to those. She blamed the ill advice she received during her campaign from Joel Arends, who was serving as her political consultant and lawyer at the time.
The defense attorney’s strategy was to portray the former GOP Senate candidate as a victim of circumstances, unfamiliar with the political process and the legal consequences of her actions. Bosworth’s lawyers argued that she had been lied to by her main advisor during the campaign when he told her she doesn’t need to personally witness the signings procedure.
However, Arends denied every allegation, and testified that Bosworth was “absolutely and definitely” aware of what she was doing, calling her a liar in return.
Bosworth was a novice politician during her 2014 Senate campaign, and she actually tried to use her lack of experience as a weapon against her veteran opponents, who she argued were no longer representing the values South Dakota voters stand for. She eventually drew around 6 percent of the vote.
The former GOP candidate said the entire trial was politically motivated against her for daring to stand against a crooked system. She tried to convince the jury that her actions were careless, but well intended.
“I was doing everything possible to get it right,” Bosworth said in her testimony. “I felt like I did a very good job trying. Clearly, I’m sitting here because we screwed up.”
Now, the former candidate could lose her medical license as she faces a punishment of up to 24 years in prison. Bosworth would also have to pay a fine of $48,000.
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