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Noncitizens Testify They Voted in Compton Election

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Eight illegal immigrants testified Tuesday in the Compton election fraud trial that they were asked to register and vote for a councilwoman allied with mayoral candidate Eric Perrodin in the June 5 election.

Six witnesses said they cast votes for Councilwoman Leslie Irving in the election, which is being contested by former Mayor Omar Bradley. The other two said they registered but did not vote.

Speaking through a court interpreter, the eight witnesses told similar stories of being approached by a Spanish-speaking woman who urged them to register and to vote for Irving. Four testified that Irving was with the woman.

Bradley’s attorneys have alleged widespread election fraud and are seeking to have the election overturned. Perrodin ousted Bradley.

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Bruce Gridley, the attorney representing Compton, said he doubted the witnesses’ recollection.

“Each of them had a slightly different story,” Gridley said after court recessed for the day. “Someone came and advocated for the Irving campaign, but the only consistent testimony is that they spoke in a language Irving doesn’t understand.”

The testimony echoed that of two witnesses called in November who said they were visited at their homes in a trailer park by Irving and her associates, who directed them how to cast ballots.

“It’s her,” said Araceli Garcia, identifying Irving from a photograph on a campaign flier. “She was wearing a cap, but it’s her. She was going to help the schools for Compton, so that’s why I signed.”

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Garcia said that Irving did not speak to her, but that “the Hispanic woman” instructed her to sign voter registration documents.

Each of the eight witnesses said that signatures on voter registration cards and other election materials were theirs, but that printed name and address information had been filled out in English by Irving campaigners.

“They just told me to sign and they would take care of everything,” said Nicolas Soto, who testified that three people who came to his house in March gave him Irving campaign literature.

Several witnesses said they were told their immigration status didn’t matter because the election was being held in Compton.

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“They told me that every person’s house they go to has to sign,” said Daniel Avila, who identified Irving from two photographs as one of the women who visited his home.

Bradley Hertz, Omar Bradley’s attorney, said he plans to call an additional 10 witnesses today.

“Clearly the testimony has been that it was Irving and people with her campaign,” Hertz said. “These are not only illegal votes, but links to offenses against the elective franchise.”


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