The 2nd Ward election fraud trial resumed on Tuesday morning with councilman Shahin Khalique’s attorney launching into an intense crossing examination of Mohammed N. Islam, the witness responsible for the audio recording in which Khalique is heard saying election and insurance fraud are “not a problem.”
John Carbone, Khalique’s attorney, at one point shouted at Islam. Carbone asked Islam what address was on his passport and then asked him where his passport was at.
Islam responded his passport was at home.
“What address is the passport at!” shouted Carbone. He suggested the passport was at the Preakness Avenue address from which Islam is recorded as having cast a mail-in ballot.
Islam denied having resided at 237 Preakness Avenue, a property owned by Khalique. He said he lived there for two weeks when he had a brief verbal scuffle with his brother. He repeatedly said he lived in Clifton at the time of the election.
“I don’t have any documents with that address. I just lived there for two weeks,” Islam told the court. He also said he had moved into 144 Jasper Street last November contradicting his previous testimony that he resided in Clifton. He said he did not vote, but signed a paper that was brought to him.
Why was he out to withdraw his vote if he never voted? Islam’s statements suggested he knew, though he did not select a candidate, when he signed the mail-in, he was voting.
Islam said he was made to utilize a mail-in ballot. He said he voted in person in 2008 for Barack Obama. When asked why he requested a mail-in this time, he said: “They made me do that.”
“Who made you do that?” asked deputy attorney general Alan Stephens.
“The people of Shahin Khalique,” responded Islam. “They took my vote.”
Former councilman Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman’s attorneys called four witnesses to the stand to name voters who voted in the 2nd Ward election, but did not live at the places where they said they lived.
Mohammad Shamsuzzaman learned his father-in-law, who allegedly lived outside of the 2nd Ward, voted in the election. He wrote a letter to the Passaic County superintendent of elections stating his father-in-law Sayed Ali did not reside at 380 Union Avenue, but lived at 188 Redwood Avenue.
Nasima Kamal testified two voters — Asad Afrooz and Sharmen Afrooz – who voted using 102 Sherman Avenue as their address on May 10th, 2016 were evicted from the property almost a year before the election.
Ershad Ali testified his nephew Shoms Uddin lived at 46 Jasper Street on May 10th, 2016. He said he visited his nephew every several weeks at the address.
Uddin voted from 44 Paterson Avenue using a mail-in. Carbone showed a Passaic County identification card belonging to Uddin which listed 44 Paterson Avenue as his address.
The sheriff listed on the ID card is Edwin Englehardt, who was sheriff long time ago. Carbone said on March 31st, 2016 Uddin moved from Jasper Street to Paterson Avenue.
“He still lives on Jasper Street,” said Ali. His statement to election officials stated Uddin moved to Baltimore, Maryland, but at court Ali said Uddin moved to Virginia. When Carbone pointed out the mismatch, Ali responded: “My mistake.”
Ali also made repeated references to the Totowa section in Paterson which caused confusion with Totowa, the town.
Zakir Ahmed, whose family owns 372 Union Avenue, testified two voters, who cast mail-in ballots, did not live at the property.
Misbah Uddin and Majeda Begum did not reside at 372 Union Avenue when they voted, said Ahmed. He said the pair moved from the property in February of this year – three month before the election.
Carbone raised questions about Ahmed’s residency alleging he did not live at 231 Burlington Avenue. Ahmed said he lived at the Burlington Avenue home in May 2016.
In between the testimonies, Susan Champion, the former councilman’s attorney, made a request to force 50 witnesses, who have been subpoenaed but have failed to appear, to appear in court.
“I’m not going to let someone decide whether or not to be here,” said Passaic County assignment judge Ernest Caposela. He said he will issue an order to have law enforcement arrest the individuals and bring them before the court.
Carbone said Akhtaruzzaman’s team failed to provide the transportation fees for the witnesses. The judge said the former councilman’s team will have to personally serve each of the 50 subpoenas.
The trial is will continue beyond Thanksgiving. The next trial date is set for October 27th, 2016 at 9 a.m. at the Passaic County Courthouse.
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