White blames Brizzi for his voter fraud conviction

Former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White said in court documents Thursday that his attorney didn't mount any defense to protect him from the conviction that forced him from office.

The assertion is among several in a petition filed in Hamilton County asking a judge to toss out White's convictions on voter fraud and other counts.

White said the defense strategy used by his attorney — former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi — was "deficient and unreasonable." Brizzi did not call any witnesses at White's February 2012 trial and immediately rested the defense after the prosecution wrapped up its case. White was sentenced last year to one year of home detention and remains free on bail.

The document says Brizzi's defense was riddled with errors and that the former prosecutor was "ignorant of the law."

"Brizzi's performance fell below any standard of reasonableness and but for that performance, the result of the proceeding would have been different," it says.

In an email to The Associated Press, Brizzi said he was traveling out of state on business and had not seen White's petition.

"Without reading this, the only comment would be that his view is apparently different from mine, but in the end the only opinion that matters is the judge's," he said.

White also said he was unfairly prosecuted for voting outside the district where he lived even though numerous other elected officials, including two senators and two former governors, have done the same thing without being charged.

The document also says jurors were under duress when they arrived at their verdict because they were forced to deliberate for more than 12 hours. The jury began deliberations about 2 p.m. and announced a verdict shortly after 2:30 a.m. the following day. Both sides asked for the jury to be sequestered overnight, but there were no hotel rooms available because the Super Bowl was being played in nearby Indianapolis.

Special prosecutor Dan Sigler said Thursday that he had reviewed White's petition and didn't think it had any merit. Such petitions are routine, he said.

"For us in the prosecution, it's just another step in the process, and we'll see what happens," Sigler said during a phone interview from his office in Fort Wayne.

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