The Democratic mayor of Rochester, New York, who proposed partially defunding her city’s police department last month, has been indicted by a grand jury for alleged campaign violations.
After a multi-year investigation into Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, the district attorney has charged the Democrat with two felonies stemming from her 2017 re-election campaign, according to WROC-TV.
Warren, who proposed partially defunding her city’s police department last month, will face one felony charge of scheme to defraud in the first degree and a second felony charge over an alleged violation of New York election law 14-126(6), which involves campaign filings and finance.
Officials said the charges are in relation to hundreds of thousands of dollars raised during the mayor’s first term between November 2013 and November 2017.
Both alleged crimes are classified as class E felonies, and each could carry a punishment of up to four years behind bars.
Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley, who announced the charges, also said punishments could be less severe and could include probation, restitution, or split sentencing should Warren be convicted.
WROC reported, “According to 2017 expenditures of Warren’s political action committee, Warren for a Stronger Rochester PAC, $30,000 was transferred from the PAC to her committee, Friends of Lovely Warren.”
The station added, “New York State has strict rules forbidding PACs and committees from coordinating. Warren’s campaign claims the money was earmarked for Friends of Lovely Warren, but was accidentally placed in the PAC account through a ‘PayPal error,’ or a clerical mistake.”
Doorley said she did not feel the alleged campaign violations were a mistake.
“We all want our elections to be run fair and these are laws on the books to allow and ensure that people who are entering political office follow the rules so that there is equal access to everyone,” Doorley said. “There are certain rules about coordinating campaign funds. These are important. We all want fair campaigns. This is allegedly a scheme to defraud.”
ICYMI : A grand jury has indicted defund the police liberal Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. She is charged with scheme to defraud in the 1st degree and violation of election law. pic.twitter.com/RXMID2IiN1
— Kambree (@KamVTV) October 2, 2020
Two other individuals are also being charged in the case: Albert Jones Jr. and Rochester Finance Director Rosiland Brooks-Harris both face identical charges to those of Warren.
“This is an indictment, not a conviction — these are simply allegations of violations of the law,” Doorley said. “I don’t think this will be anything resolved quickly.”
“I was presented the facts, we handled it as we would any other case, and I am simply doing my job.”
The DA continued, “This is not political. … I am the chief law enforcement official in Monroe County. I was presented the facts, we handled it as we would any other case, and I am simply doing my job.”