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Secretary Of State Loses Second Preliminary Round Before Tuesday Hearing

Last updated on Monday, June 20, 2011

(UNDATED) - Secretary of State Charlie White has lost another preliminary round ahead of a Tuesday hearing on whether he can stay in office.

Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg has rejected White's request for immunity for his testimony at a recount commission hearing.

White's facing a criminal trial in august on related charges, accusing him of voting from an address he'd already moved away from.

Attorney Jim Bopp says allowing prosecutors to scour his testimony before the commission leaves him with "an unconscionable choice" between mounting his best defense in the criminal case or the election case.

The commission had denied White's immunity request last week. It also refused to grant immunity to his wife Michelle, who has not been indicted but is under investigation.

Rosenberg upheld that denial is well.

Democrats argue White's landslide election last fall is invalid because he was not a legally registered voter.

White voted in the 2010 primary, but used an address at which he was no longer living.

White has called the failure to update his address "a silly mistake."

A team of special prosecutors disagreed, charging him with vote fraud.

He's also charged with theft for continuing to draw his salary as a Fishers Town Council Member after moving out of his district.

If the commission agrees White's faulty registration made him ineligible to run, the office would pass to Democrat Vop Osili, the second-place finisher with 37% of the vote.

Bopp accuses democrats of trying to "game the system."

White would also lose his office if he's convicted at his criminal trial, but in that instance, Republican Governor Mitch Daniels would appoint a successor.

White could invoke his right not to incriminate himself, but unlike a criminal trial, the Commission could then assume the worst about what the answer would be.

Bopp hasn't ruled out an emergency appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals.

He won't comment on what White will do if the rulings stand.

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