ESL Prosecution Witness Falters

Dannita Youngblood, the first witness for the prosecution in the East St. Louis Voter Fraud Trial faltered during cross examination today…


Former Belleville Mayor and current Democratic Chair, Mark Kern

The St. Louis Post Dispatch is calling the trial proceedings today for the voter fraud charges against 5 East St. Louis Democrats as “Puzzling”:

The judge in the federal vote fraud trial of five East St. Louis Democrats sent the jury home early on Friday as lawyers puzzled over how to handle testimony from an FBI informer that was patently false.

Under cross examination, prosecution witness Dannita Youngblood repeatedly claimed that she was not interviewed by a federal prosecutor and an FBI agent a few weeks prior to trial, despite voluminous documents and reports to the contrary.

Youngblood has testified during the past two days about vote buying in East St. Louis that she claims was directed or observed by the five defendants, including the city’s Democrat Party chairman Charles Powell Jr. and Youngblood’s former boss at City Hall, Kelvin Ellis.

Also, the Belleville News Democrat is saying that the video shown in court contradicts Youngblood’s testimony:

A videotape played Thursday at a federal vote fraud trial of a meeting between Mark Kern and six East St. Louis politicians did not contain references to vote buying as a prosecution witness had testified.

Kern has labeled Dannita Youngblood’s testimony as “absolutely untrue,” and an “outrage.”

Youngblood had testified that in October, Kern, then a Democratic candidate for the county board, was told during a telephone call with East St. Louis Democratic Precinct Committeeman Kelvin Ellis about a need to pay $10 a vote. Youngblood said Ellis, who is on trial for vote fraud, told Kern that $10 a vote would be needed to overcome an alleged perception among black voters that Kern was a racist.

Youngblood also testified that Kern later discussed a vote-buying spreadsheet she had prepared. She said she distributed copies during a meeting at Kern’s private Belleville office attended by Ellis, the other politicians and herself…

The videotape also showed that Kern did not look at a copy of the spreadsheet placed on the table near him.

The trial will resume next Tuesday.

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