Former city councilman Rigo Rodriguez and his wife Lisette Rodriguez were entered into a pre-trial intervention (PTI) program earlier today after agreeing to a lifetime ban on holding public office and employment, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
Rodriguez, 42, and his wife, 34, were charged with election fraud during the councilman’s re-election campaign in 2010. Lisette Rodriguez and her husband were charged with using campaign workers to turn in unauthorized absentee ballots. A grand jury formally indicted the couple in March on second and third-degree charges of conspiracy, election fraud, mail-in ballot fraud, and witness tampering, according to authorities.
“During Rigo Rodriguez’s 2010 bid for re-election to city council as an at-large candidate, he and his wife allegedly conspired to have campaign workers illegally act as “messengers” and “bearers” for vote-by-mail applications and mail-in ballots when they had not been designated by voters to act in those roles,” authorities said.
Authorities also alleged that the couple submitted ballots for people who never received absentee ballots, completed or authorized them for submission. Once they learned of the investigation the couple coached campaign workers into how to answers questions asked by detectives. The couple allegedly told campaign workers to lie to authorities.
In the aftermath of the investigation, authorities arrested 14 people who were connected to Rodriguez’s re-election campaign. Authorities have since allowed most of them to enter into PTI.
The couple will have to spend one year in the program, according authorities. Superior court judge Ernest Caposela admitted the couple into the program Wednesday morning.
“If they successfully complete the PTI program, the criminal charges against them will be dismissed,” authorities said.