Philly's long history of corruption includes judge convicted of bribery to cast fraudulent ballots

Just six months ago, a former Philadelphia Judge of Elections was convicted for his role in accepting bribes to cast fraudulent ballots and certifying false voting results during the 2014, 2015, and 2016 primary elections.

Published: November 6, 2020 4:18pm

Updated: November 6, 2020 11:31pm

Even as members of the mainstream media largely dismiss concerns about possible voter fraud, they are ignoring Philadelphia's long history of endemic political corruption.

Less than six months ago, for example, a former Philadelphia Judge of Elections pled guilty and was convicted for his role in accepting bribes to cast fraudulent ballots and certify false voting results during the 2014, 2015, and 2016 primary elections.

Domenick J. Demuro, 73, Judge of Elections for Philadelphia's 39th Ward, 36th Division, pled guilty during a sealed proceeding on March 16 before U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond to conspiring to deprive persons of civil rights, and using interstate facilities in aid of bribery.

The U.S. Department of Justice provided this summary of Demuro's crimes in a May 21 press release announcing his conviction:

"During his guilty plea hearing, Demuro admitted that while serving as an elected municipal Judge of Elections, he accepted bribes in the form of money and other things of value in exchange for adding ballots to increase the vote totals for certain candidates on the voting machines in his jurisdiction and for certifying tallies of all the ballots, including the fraudulent ballots. Demuro further admitted that a local political consultant gave him directions and paid him money to add votes for candidates supported by the consultant, including candidates for judicial office whose campaigns actually hired the consultant, and other candidates for various federal, state and local elective offices preferred by that consultant for a variety of reasons. Demuro also admitted that the votes he added in exchange for payments by the political consultant increased the number of votes fraudulently recorded and tallied for the consultant's clients and preferred candidates, thereby diluting the ballots cast by actual voters." 

"This defendant abused his office by engaging in election fraud for profit," Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of DOJ's criminal division said in the press release. 

"Demuro fraudulently stuffed the ballot box by literally standing in a voting booth and voting over and over, as fast as he could, while he thought the coast was clear," added U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania William M. McSwain. "This is utterly reprehensible conduct."

The political consultant who allegedly bribed Demuro was Michael Ozzie Myers, a former U.S. congressman who was charged in July with conspiring to violate voting rights

"Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy," U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania William M. McSwain said in a public statement announcing the charges against Myers. "If only one vote has been illegally rung up or fraudulently stuffed into a ballot box, the integrity of that entire election is undermined. Votes are not things to be purchased and democracy is not for sale. If you are a political consultant, election official, or work with the polling places in any way, I urge you to do your job honestly and faithfully. That is what the public deserves, it is what democracy demands, and it is what my office will enforce."

Before his current charges, Myers was convicted of bribery and conspiracy in the ABSCAM scandal and later expelled from Congress in 1980 for accepting payments from undercover FBI agents posing as Arab sheiks. The payments were in exchange for promising to use official influence on immigration measures. After his conviction, Myers was expelled from the House of Representatives — the first member ever expelled for a reason other than disloyalty to the Union during the Civil War. Myers served more than a year in federal prison and was released in 1985.

A trial date for Myers has not been set. Myers' attorney, Arnold Silverstein, declined to comment on the matter when reached by Just the News on Friday.

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Beyond electoral fraud, Philadelphia District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams in 2017 admitted, according to a DOJ announcement, "that he accepted tens of thousands of dollars' worth of concealed bribes in exchange for his agreement to perform official acts, defrauded a nursing home and family friends of money earmarked for a family member's care, and used political action committee funds and official government vehicles for his personal benefit." 

The same year, VICE Media asked, "Is Philadelphia the Most Corrupt City in America?" in a lengthy article detailing the City of Brotherly Love's history of corruption.

"At least Philly has judges, who we rely on for their integrity and fairness — and their willingness to fix cases for friends, if the two removed from the bench last year alone are any indication," wrote VICE's Aaron Kase. "The city's whole damn traffic court was abolished last year, too, after nine judges were charged and seven were convicted of various crimes.

In March, Philly Mag ran a piece "The Utterly Ridiculous History of Lawbreaking (and Allegedly Lawbreaking) Philly Politicians" detailing 20 cases of apparent or proven Philadelphia corruption.

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