St. Louis Democratic Comptroller Darlene Green
A decision may be reached today on whether Nonaresa Montgomery committed perjury in her 2001 testimony regarding discredited voter listings that she admitted she turned into the elections office on the last elegible day. Closing arguments were scheduled for this morning:
On tape, Montgomery admitted taking from 1,000 to 1,200 voter registrations to the St. Louis Board of Elections on Feb. 7, 2001, just before the mayoral primary. Workers there launched an investigation after noticing that among the new voters was longtime Alderman Albert “Red” Villa, who died in 1990.
Montgomery told the grand jury that many of the fraudulent cards could have come from Operation Big Vote offices, based on the initials of volunteers and distinctive markings. She also matched initials to the names of more than a half-dozen workers.
Six volunteers pleaded guilty in December of dozens of election law violations for filling out the cards with names of the dead and other bogus information. One still faces charges.
Montgomery had testified to the grand jury that she could not definitively track the cards she turned in. “Well, I don’t have the ability to track the cards, I mean the registrations, once we give them to the Board of Elections,” she said in response to a question from a female grand juror.
Prosecutors say that Montgomery perjured herself in that statement. They say she did have copies of the registrations but disposed of them after a Feb. 12, 2001, meeting – sparking a second charge of tampering with evidence.
That meeting, held in the campaign headquarters of St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green, was attended by Montgomery, Keena Carter, the assistant Democratic director of the election board, and Pearlie Evans, a longtime political activist who was Green’s campaign manager.
Evans told jurors Tuesday that during the three-hour meeting there was a discussion about getting rid of the copies, but she could not remember who was involved. She was vehement that Green did not participate.
Witnesses said Montgomery brought the cards to the meeting, but investigators searched Montgomery’s house and the Operation Big Vote office, and the cards had disappeared.