Ville Platte councilwoman Christina Sam was arrested in Mid-November on one count of voter fraud.
Her lawyer is now speaking out on the charges.
KATC's Tre Francis got a chance to speak with councilwoman Christina Sam's attorney, Roscell Jones, and she says her client did not commit any crimes and will prevail in the case.
Jones says Sam went into District Attorney Trent Brignac's office in Mid-November to report a relative of her political opponent harassing her at her workplace.
She then was called back to the D.A.'s office on November 17, when she was "interrogated" for more than four hours, and falsely accused of registering voters in her district that did not live within her district.
Jones says the only way Sam could've gotten out of going to jail that day was by accepting a guilty plea, and so she initially accepted a plea bargain to voter fraud.
She also says the only evidence the district attorney stated he had was an IP address. An IP address is a unique string of characters that identifies each computer using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network.
“He told her he had an IP address that was connected to a computer that she owned. My client was not given any proof of any computer forensic information. Any paper working showing her I.P. address connected to registering certain voters. She was not provided any information other than Mr. Brinac’s word,” Jones said.
Jones says the District's Attorney's actions were inappropriate.
“Inappropriate conduct by the District Attorney contacting someone without an attorney. And reminding them that plea guilty is on the table if they want to avoid going to jail. It is improper, it is wrong. And my client has been falsely accused of a crime she did not commit. And now has a blemish on her record. Of now being arrested for a felony. This is very very serious, This is a third-world justice type of antics that happened here and it is unacceptable. And my client is prepared to fully “
Sam has since pleaded not guilty to the charges as of last week and Jones said she plans to pursue charges against the district attorney for his actions. Sam also intends to stay in the runoff for the Ville Platte City council. We checked with the Secretary of State, and Sam's name will remain on the ballot.
“Judge West did the right thing here, you have a client that was left here more than four hours without an attorney forced to take a guilty plea to a crime that she did not commit. Just so she can avoid going to jail. This is textbook coercion. And textbook duress," Jones said.
We reached out to District Attorney Brignac and says he did not wish to comment as this is an ongoing investigation, but a spokeswoman said that he "has attempted to inform Christina Sam's attorney of the pertinent facts involving the day of her client's arrest."
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