RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Mark MeadowsPresident Donald Trump’s former White House chief of staff will not face voter fraud charges related to 2020 registration and non-voting in North Carolina, the state’s attorney general announced Friday.
Meadows, a former western North Carolina congressman who served Trump in his final months in the Oval Office, has been an outspoken supporter of the former president’s baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him. When he described that, Meadows drew the attention of state prosecutors He registered to vote at the same time Appeared in North Carolina and two other states.
mostly based on Results of voter fraud investigation Completed by the State Bureau of Investigation, Attorney General Josh Stein told The Associated Press there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Meadows or his wife, Debra.
“Our conclusion is … that they had arguments that would help them if they were prosecuted beyond a reasonable doubt that they could prove that they engaged in intentional voter fraud,” Stein, a Democrat, said. An interview.
Meadows, a Republican, is listing a mobile home in Scaly Mountain, North Carolina, where she will be living on Sept. 19, 2020, when he registered to vote while serving as presiding officer, public records show he did not own a physical address. Meadows cast an absentee ballot in North Carolina for the November general election, when Trump won the battleground state by more than 1 percentage point.
The New Yorker, which first reported on Meadows’ 2020 registration earlier this year, told the magazine that Meadows’ wife rented the property for a short period of time and only spent a couple of nights there.
Professional prosecutors within Stein’s department recommended that charges not be pursued. In a note to Stein, Evidence shows Meadows and his wife signed a one-year lease for the Scaly Mountain residence provided by their landlord, prosecutors said. Cell phone records indicate Debra Meadows was in and around Scaly Mountain in October 2020, and her husband qualified for a residency exemption under state law because he was in public service in Washington.
Election officials interpret state law so that a person can register as a “permanent resident” at least 30 days before the election. Fraudulent or false filling of the registration form is a low level offence.
Mark Meadows “certainly was never physically present at the Scaly Mountain address,” the memo states, adding that the “residence in Macon County factors outweigh the factors weighing on residence.”
Ben Williamson, a spokesman for Mark Meadows, said in a statement that he had no comment on Stein’s decision. Mark and Debra Meadows declined to be interviewed by SBI, according to the memo.
Stein’s Office of Special Prosecutions at the Justice Department took over the investigation at the request of the district attorney in Macon County, located in Scaly Mountain, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of Asheville. The DA recused himself as Meadows contributed to his campaign and appeared in political ads endorsing him. The special prosecutor’s office asked SBI to investigate, and the agency completed its preliminary work last month.
By April, the Macon County Board of Elections Removed Grasslands from the local electoral rolls.
Meadows has registered to vote in Virginia in 2021 and in South Carolina this March, after he and his wife bought a home there, public records show.
Meadows began raising public suspicions of widespread voter fraud leading up to the 2020 general election, when polls showed Trump trailing President Joe Biden. He repeated those baseless claims throughout the election cycle and after the race, as Trump insisted the election was rigged.
Election officials from both parties, judges and Trump’s own attorney general concluded that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Meadows was featured prominently in a US House committee that investigated the events leading up to the Capitol riots on January 6, 2021. Stein said, while urging federal prosecutors to “hold accountable” those responsible for conspiring to “endanger our democracy.” In a news release, his office said those matters were not relevant to the fraud allegations it reviewed.
Stein told the AP that even though his investigation is over, the case could be reopened if evidence emerges from investigations in other jurisdictions.
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