Former Amite police chief, city councilmember sentenced in vote-buying conspiracy

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 4:02 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2022 at 10:53 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WASHINGTON (WVUE) - A former police chief and councilmember in Amite City were each sentenced on Nov. 29 to one year in prison for violating federal election laws as part of a conspiracy to, or offer to pay voters for voting in a federal election.

In addition to the prison sentence, the former police chief was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. An additional co-conspirator was sentenced Wednesday (Nov. 30) to four months in prison for his role in the scheme.

Court documents and evidence were shown during the trial that Jerry Trabona, 73, the former Chief of Police in Amite City, and Kristian “Kris” Hart, 50, a former Amite City councilmember, agreed with each other and others to pay or offer to pay voters residing in Tangipahoa Parish during the 2016 Open Primary Election and the 2016 Open General Election.

Both Trabona and Hart were candidates.

Trabona and Hart’s vote-buying scheme included the solicitation and hiring of individuals responsible for identifying potential voters, the transportation of those voters to the polls, and payment and offer of payment to the voters for voting.

In the 2016 election, co-conspirator Sidney Smith, 69, of Amite City, paid voters with money provided by Trabona and Hart.

Calvin Batiste and Louis Ruffino, two other men who previously pleaded guilty to their involvement in the vote-buying scheme, will be sentenced at a later date.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click Here to report it. Please include the headline.