The lawyer for the Republican who pretended to be his dead mom to illegally vote for Trump says his client was attempting 'civil disobedience'
President Donald Trump. Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Bruce Bartman pretended to be his dead mother to illegally cast a vote for President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, prosecutors say.
Samuel Stretton, Bartman's attorney, told Insider he admitted the crime and intended to plead guilty.
"It was his way of civil disobedience by illegally voting for Trump," said Stretton.
Election fraud is extremely rare in the United States. From 2000 to 2020, fewer than 200 cases were convicted out of hundreds of millions of votes cast.
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Bruce Bartman's attorney - the Pennsylvania Republican charged with election fraud and accused of being his dead mother to illegally cast a vote for President Donald Trump on her behalf - said his client believed he was in one Participated kind protest.
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"He was angry with people who criticized the president and complained about the electoral process and wanted to do what he believed was civil disobedience by registering his mother and voting her," lawyer Samuel Stretton told Insider on Tuesday . "Of course he was wildly wrong."
Bartman has been charged with unlawful voting and perjury. Delaware County Prosecutor's Office said he filled out voter registration forms in August with a driver's license for his late mother, Elizabeth Bartman, and a Social Security number for his late mother-in-law, Elizabeth Weihman. He eventually cast a vote in Elizabeth Bartman's name for Trump.
Stretton told insiders that Bruce Bartman was planning to plead guilty once his case went through preliminary hearings and called his actions "a terrible mistake".
The 70-year-old Bartman faces a maximum of 19 years in prison. Stretton said he hoped his client could get parole.
"He was completely wrong and took full responsibility," said Stretton.
Although the vote cast on behalf of Elizbeth Bartman contributed to Trump's bottom line, it did not affect the overall election result. President-elect Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 82,000 votes and carried Delaware County.
Prosecutors said this was the only case they found out from hundreds of tips on election fraud
Prosecutors said Bartman was the only election fraud case they found out from hundreds of tips submitted.
Stretton said the case was originally reported by the New York Times rather than the county or state election services. The Times, he said, is running an investigative story into which names on obituaries were checked against voter records and the name of Elizabeth Bartman was discovered. The Times did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
"The county detectives or the DA bureau would investigate. And then, because my client was using his own computer, they could trace it back to him," said Stretton. "What was interesting was a newspaper that was doing independent peer reviews that picked it up as opposed to something internal."
Stretton said it was "worrying" that state officials did not discover the problem on their own and he hoped it would be resolved for future elections.
"It would be interesting to see why I could apparently pick a name from the cemetery, delete it from my computer, and vote," said Stretton. "Well, I would like to know how that can be corrected in the future."
Trump speaks at a rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania on September 22. Jeff Swensen / Getty Images
Republicans have often exaggerated the level of electoral fraud - which is extremely rare in the United States - as an excuse to restrict voting. This year they have advanced conspiracy theories about the presidential election to discredit Biden's victory despite winning the referendum by more than 7 million.
The idea behind this myth is that people often vote for the dead. It merges the sending of voter registration forms, which can be mailed by anyone and to anyone, with the actual registration to vote.
In November, the Trump campaign and Fox News host Tucker Carlson spread the conspiracy theory that several dead people had voted in Pennsylvania and Georgia - but the people they named were very much alive and in most cases simply mistaken for their late spouses .
The right-wing Heritage Foundation, which maintains a database of electoral fraud cases, identified fewer than 200 convicted cases out of hundreds of millions of votes cast between 2000 and 2020.
"This is the only known case where a 'dead person' votes in our county, regardless of conspiracy theories," Delaware District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said in a statement Monday. "Furthermore, the immediate prosecution of this case shows that law enforcement will continue to comply with our electoral laws when there is real evidence of fraud and that we will continue to investigate any allegations that get in our way."
Stretton said Bartman didn't believe that casting an additional vote for a dead person would be easy as Trump suggested, nor did he try to come up with the numbers for his preferred candidate.
"As he described it to me, it was his way of civil disobedience by illegally voting for Trump," said Stretton. "I told him that civil disobedience is being done in public. And he said he was wrong and that he was very sorry for it."
Officials eventually found a case of a dead person voting, accusing a Republican of impersonating his dead mother in order to vote for Trump
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