Texas Woman Sentenced To Eight Years In Prison For Voter Fraud
Rosa Maria Ortega calls it a mistake, but she'll be fully prosecuted for the Texas definition of voter fraud.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the 37-year-old Texas woman was given an eight-year sentence last Thursday after being found guilty of charges of illegal voting.
The charges stem from elections in 2012 and 2014, which Ortega cast ballots for as a legal resident. The problem for Ortega, however, is that only citizens are allowed to vote, not legal residents.
That's the key, but the woman says she wasn't aware that she wasn't allowed to vote.
She told the Tarrant County court,
If I knew, everything would have been done the correct way. All my life I was taught I was a U.S. citizen.
Despite that testimony, the prosecution presented evidence that Ortega had applied for a driver's license as a non-citizen, which obviously contradicts the idea she didn't know she was not a US citizen, the Star Telegram reported.
Whether she understood legal residents couldn't vote, however, is unclear.
In a separate write-up, the Star-Telegram also reported that Ortega was offered plea deal back in August.
The deal would have resulted in two years probation, but the mother of four rejected the deal out of fear she would be deported if she pled guilty, her attorney said.
Her guilty verdict came anyway, which means she will likely still be facing deportation, but only after eight years in prison.
The case and the (arguably excessive) sentence comes at a time when the president and his aides repeatedly insist that voter fraud is crime occurring at a large scale.
The White House has provided no evidence of wide-spread voter fraud, but there's still a trend of Republicans and Democrats going out of their way to publicly state they have voter fraud under control.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott continued that trend when he tweeted about Ortega's case, in a post that seemed to praise the harsh sentencing.
Meanwhile, Ortega's attorney believes President Trump's "fictitious" claims played against his client.
The attorney, Clark Birdsall, said,
It was the 800-pound gorilla sitting in the jury box. You cannot hold this woman accountable for Donald Trump's fictitious 3 million votes.
Regardless of what Birdsall thinks, the jury's opinion is what ultimately mattered in the end.
Because of that opinion, Ortega is now facing eight years behind bars.