Political Consultant Testifies In His Forgery Trial
SAN MARCOS, Texas (AP) _ A political consultant testified that he instructed workers to sign others’ names on petitions for a Republican presidential candidate, but never expected the signatures to be used.
Rocky Mountain said it was ″probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done in my life″ to give teen-agers and other temporary workers beer and tell them to sign names from a computerized list on state primary petitions for candidate Pete du Pont.
However, Mountain said, ″I don’t believe it constitutes a crime.″
The defense rested after Mountain’s testimony on Tuesday. Harris County Judge Sherman Ross was to consider motions today and attorneys were to deliver closing statements before the case goes to the jury.
Mountain and the company for which he is a vice president, Southern Political Consulting Inc., in Houston, each were indicted on 64 counts of misdemeanor forgery. But the judge threw out 26 of the counts Tuesday on grounds of insufficient evidence.
Mountain said he did not intend to defraud or harm anyone, but simply meant to present the petitions to du Pont aide Scott Malfitano. Mountain said he was angry at Malfitano because of pressure from the du Pont campaign to get signatures.
″I wanted to get a whole big stack of petitions, dump them on Malfitano’s desk and say, ‘You want petitions, man, here’s the petitions,’ ″ Mountain said. He said Malfitano used the firm’s offices for several days.
″Never in a million years did I imagine he was going to turn them in (to the Republican Party of Texas). We all agreed there was no way to use those petitions,″ Mountain said.
Defense lawyers have said they were unable to secure Malfitano as a witness.
Republican Party rules required candidates to submit 5,000 voter signatures to get on the ballot. The rules since have been changed to allow candidates to pay a filing fee or submit signatures.
Mountain contended Tuesday that the law was being selectively enforced. He and his firm are the only ones to be indicted, Mountain noted, even though apparently forged signatures were found on a number of presidential candidates’ petitions.
Mountain faces a fine of up to $2,000 per count and up to a year in jail. The firm could be fined up to $10,000 per count.