In a surprising twist, a former election official in Virginia sees her felony charges dismissed after a crucial witness changes his testimony.
A sudden change in a key witness's account led to the dropping of felony charges against Michele White, the former Prince William County registrar, who still faces a misdemeanor charge related to neglect of duty.
Michele White, the ex-general registrar for Prince William County, Virginia, had been under the lens for charges related to the 2020 elections. The two felony charges brought forth by the Virginia attorney general involved accusations of corrupt conduct and making a false statement. The origin of these charges was linked to allegations of White tampering with election results in the state reporting system known as VERIS.
The plot thickened as the felony charges were abruptly dropped on Friday. This unexpected turn of events came as Sean Mulligan, the key witness, made a significant alteration to his initial statement. The attorney general's office was taken aback by this sudden change, describing it as "convenient" and "surprisingly different."
Mulligan, who had been an employee of the county office of elections in 2020, suddenly provided a different account of events from what he had initially reported. This inconsistency led the attorney general to cease the pursuit of felony charges against White.
However, White isn't off the hook entirely. She still faces a misdemeanor charge for allegedly willfully neglecting her duty as an election officer.
The story also reveals that White abruptly stepped down from her position as registrar in 2021 without explaining. Adding to the intrigue, a grand jury had indicted White on the two felony charges in September 2022.
White's attorney, Zachary Stafford, has a different perspective on the altered testimony of the key witness. According to him, Mulligan's new statement did not contradict his earlier one. Instead, he believes that it provides additional context that was missing from the initial investigation.
The attorney general's office has maintained that the change in testimony, though "convenient," isn't necessarily indicative of witness tampering.
White's attorney, Zachary Stafford, had a chance to speak to the key witness after the attorney general's office interviewed him. His account of this interaction is quite revealing.
"When I interviewed Mr. Mulligan he did not provide me an inconsistent statement compared to what he had previously stated to an investigator for the Attorney General prior to Ms. White’s indictment... Mr. Mulligan stated that Ms. White did not tell him to make those changes and that he could not recall who told him to make the changes on November 7th, but suspected it was one of two co-workers that were handling the results from the Central Absentee Precinct."
This case, with its twists and turns, continues to unfold, stirring up questions and uncertainties about the 2020 elections.