Seven witnesses took to the stand to testify in the city’s 2nd Ward election fraud trial on Tuesday morning.
Witnesses mostly gave consistent accounts of the process each used to cast their mail-in ballots in the 2nd Ward election.
Mohammed Shiabul Islam said he “tick” marked a ballot, signed it, and voted. He said his neighbor Foyes Ali assisted him in filling out the ballot.
Islam volunteered a description of Ali. In the previous four days of testimony voters who had Ali listed as an assistor provided varying description of Ali. One described him as short and fat while another described him as skinny and tall.
Roushan Jahan was also assisted by Ali. She voluntarily provided a description of the assistor as a short, little man. Jahan, who did not recognize the ballot, said she signed the mail-in, handed it to her husband, and he delivered it to Ali.
Where did her husband take the mail-in to give it to Ali? She did not know, she told Susan Champion, who represents former councilman Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman in the case. When asked how she voted, she said she “tick” marked a candidate.
“I didn’t have a chance to look at it. I rushed and went to cooking,” said Jahan when asked for a description of the paper where she “ticked” her candidate of choice.
John Carbone, who represents councilman Shahin Khalique in the case, initiated his usual defense. He read out the names of candidate, asked if she selected one of them, and then followed with if she sealed the mail-in.
Jahan said she picked her candidate and gave the mail-in to her husband. She did not answer whether the envelope was sealed.
“What exactly is a tick mark?” asked deputy attorney general Alan Stephens.
“I voted,” said Jahan.
She could not recall whether she marked next to the name of her choice candidate.
Another voter Mohammed Moznu said he was assisted by Zakaria Ahmed. He said Zakaria Ahmed assisted him in filling out the name and address portion of the mail-in.
Moznu said he stamped and mailed the ballot.
Moznu found fault with the subpoena that was issued to him. He accosted a reporter to complain about the letter which had Monday and date September 14th, 2016. He also complained to the judge about the discrepancy between the date and the day.
For the first time the case saw multiple assistors testifying. Champion called on Imran Hussain, an assistor, to take the stand.
Hussain said he assisted two of his cousins Shirin Ahmed and Rubin Ahmed. He said he helped both with their names and addresses on the mail-in.
Shirin Ahmed said no one helped her to vote. She said she freely voted for Khalique. She identified the assistor on her mail-in as her distant cousin Imran Hussain.
Similarly, another assistor, Ismail Ali, said he assisted his father’s cousin with her mail-in. He said he told her where to sign on the mail-in.
Imran Hussain appeared agitated after questioning. He asked judge Ernest Caposela whether in the United States he had the right to vote for whomever he wants and assist whomever he liked.
The judge did not entertain Imran Hussain’s questions.
“I’m here wasting my time,” said Imran Hussain.
“This is the way disputes are resolved in the United States,” retorted the Judge.
Harun Miah, who assisted 12 people with their mail-in ballots, was asked about the dozen people he assisted. He identified each one was a family member or relative. He said he was actively involved in Khalique’s campaign.
Miah said he went door to door for Khalique.
Champion asked if he asked voters to vote for his candidate.
“I probably did,” said Miah.
“Did you specifically tell them to support Mr. Khalique?” asked the deputy attorney general.
“No, I did not,” said Miah.
Miah said his encouragement was merely telling voters to “vote your conscience.”
The fifth day of trial was shortened to the morning. The trial will resume tomorrow at 9 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.
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