Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Charges against Harry Wait–Who Proved Wisconsin Ballots Can Be Obtained Illegally
In a Racine County court, Judge Robert Repischak denied a “motion to dismiss” filed by Harry Wait’s attorney Dan Hartman.
Wait is a Wisconsin election integrity activist and co-founder of the very active “watchdog group” called H.O.T. Government (Honest, Open and Transparent Government), who conducted a citizen led sting operation to expose security vulnerabilities in the state’s absentee ballot system that could lead to widespread election fraud.
Wait is now being charged by the Wisconsin Department of Justice with four counts: two felony counts of election fraud and two felony counts of identity theft. He faces 13 years in prison if convicted of all four counts.
During a preliminary hearing Friday, Hartman argued that the Wisconsin Attorney General did not have jurisdiction to bring charges for election fraud against Wait. Hartman pointed to a state statute which says that charges can only be filed by the county district attorney of the county where Wait resides (Racine County).
Wait is alleged to have violated s. 12.13, (Election fraud) of the Wisconsin State Statute, which, according to Ch. 12.60.4, prescribes prosecutions be conducted by the district attorney of the county in which the defendant resides.
(4) Prosecutions under this chapter shall be conducted in accordance with s. 11.1401 (2).
s. 11.1401 (2) Except as otherwise provided in ss. 19.49 (2) (b) 13. and 14. and (h) and 19.554, and only after the commission has determined probable cause, all prosecutions under this section shall be conducted by the district attorney for the county where the defendant resides or, if the defendant is a nonresident, by the district attorney for the county where the violation is alleged to have occurred. For purposes of this subsection, a person other than an individual resides within a county if the person’s principal place of operation is located within that county.
Judge Repischak called the matter a “legislative goose chase” due to lack of clarity in the statute, citing the district attorney’s request for help from the attorney general in prosecuting the case as the reason for his denial of the motion to dismiss:
So I do find that under the plain language of the statute, the DA’s office does have the ability to prosecute this matter despite the matter not being referred to it by the Ethics Commission and not having a probable cause.
Being found is one of two ways of doing it and the DA’s office objected the first way the statute and then when I look to the statute regarding the duties and powers of the district attorney, I note that in 9 78 0.045 the district attorney’s office can seek prosecutorial help from other prosecution units for the assistant district attorney which they have done.
Wait’s associates from H.O.T. Government claimed that they were only notified of the DA’s request for help from the attorney general on the very morning of the hearing.
To establish probable cause for the case to continue, the state brought in special agent Andrew Schoeneck, who questioned Wait during his investigation into a complaint made by the embattled Wisconsin Elections Commission. The complaint alleges that Wait illegally obtained ballots in multiple party’s names that were not his own.
Special Agent Schoeneck confirmed that he witnessed Wait, in videos that he posted of himself online, ordering the ballots.
Judge Repischak accepted prosecutors’ arguments that they had met the burden to show probable cause, and concluded with Wait entering a plea of not guilty.
Wait has never denied ordering ballots from the commission’s website MyVoteWi.com; he says he did so to expose grave concerns with the integrity of the Wisconsin voting system, not to commit election fraud. Wait was determined to demonstrate how easily a fraudulent absentee ballot could be obtained in Wisconsin, which he did by ordering from the website with no more than a name and birthdate of the parties for which he received ballots.
Those parties included eight friends of Wait who gave him permission to do so; one in the name Robin Vos, the Republican state assembly speaker; and one in the name of Democrat Racine Mayor Corey Mason.
Wait went so far as to proactively provide all of the evidence necessary to prosecute himself to the Racine County Sheriff’s Office — which at the time declined to press charges given what Wait’s simple actions had uncovered about the security of Wisconsin’s election system.
Wait, who was joined in the courtroom by dozens of supporters, told The Gateway Pundit that he wanted to make sure his actions were not viewed as partisan and that he does “not belong any political party.”
Despite Judge Repischak’s denial of the motion to dismiss, Wait left the courtroom enthusiastic about his day in court and remained confident that he will be found innocent in the end.