Thursday, May 27, 2010
Department of Justice
United States Attorney James R. Dedrick Eastern District of Tennessee
FORMER UNION COUNTY COMMISSIONER SENTENCED FOR FEDERAL ELECTION TAMPERING
KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Charlie Edward Cox, age 71, of Union County, Tennessee, was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 21 months stemming from his guilty pleas to charges that he bought votes in a 2006 election in Union County, Tennessee. Judge Phillips directed that Cox be taken into custody at the conclusion of the hearing to begin to serve his sentence immediately.
According to the indictment and plea agreement, Cox violated Title 42, United States Code, Section 1793i(c), by paying six (6) different individuals for voting during an early election held in Union County, Tennessee, on or about August 3, 2006. This election was held in part for the purpose of selecting a candidate for the office of Member of the United States Senate.
In August 2006 Cox drove the six (6) individuals to the polling place at Union County High School, paid them ten dollars ($10) each, and directed them to vote for specific candidates. At the time of the offenses, Cox was a Union County Commissioner. Later, Cox attempted to obstruct the investigation by discouraging witnesses from talking to law enforcement personnel who were investigating the vote-buying scheme, telling the individuals whom he had bribed not to admit that Cox had paid them to vote as he had directed them.
United States Attorney James R. Dedrick said, "This prosecution reflects the commitment of the the Department of Justice to aggressively investigate and prosecute persons who seek to corrrupt the integrity of our election process. The sentence will serve to deter others who would seek to illegally undermine the foundation of our democracy."
The case was jointly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.