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Luther trustee ballot fraud investigation moves forward

OKLAHOMA CITY - The trustee of the small town of Luther and his wife were in front of an Oklahoma County judge Tuesday. Both are accused of trying to turn the tide of an election in their favor.

Ronald Henry and his wife Brenda are both charged with conspiracy to commit false notarization of a ballot.

The charges stem from a 2015 trustee election in Luther. According to the court affidavit, the two brought absentee ballots to mayor Cecilia Taft to be notarized.

The ballots were apparently signed by family members who were not present. Taft said she trusted they were signed by family, and agreed to notarize them.

However, in the state of Oklahoma, it is illegal for a notary to notarize a document unless the person who is signing the document is actually present.

In the preliminary hearing Tuesday, Taft admitted to notarizing the ballots on two different occasions with each of the Henrys.

Their defense attorney, Gary Wood, insisted there was no conspiracy to commit any crime, arguing the mayor never told the Henrys someone has to be present to get their ballot notarized.

Ultimately, Judge Lisa Hammond decided the prosecution has a case.

NewsChannel 4 talked to trial lawyer Jacquelyn Ford about the case. She said she thinks the prosecutors have a tough road ahead, proving conspiracy.

"Because you have to get into someone's mind and know what they intended, and not only one person in a conspiracy, you have to get into the minds of two or more persons," Ford said.

The charge of conspiracy to commit false notarization of a ballot carries a maximum five year prison sentence, a $50,000 fine, or both.