Ex-registrar appears in Prince William County court on corruption charges

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

A Prince William County judge admonished former Registrar Michele White for not yet hiring an attorney to face felony charges of corruption.

White appeared in Prince William County Circuit Court Friday for a hearing on the status of her legal counsel.

White was indicted by a grand jury earlier this month on three charges: corrupt conduct as an election official and willful neglect of duty as an election official between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020 and making a false statement by an election official between Nov. 3 and Nov. 10, 2020.

White is free on a personal recognizance bond, meaning she was released from custody with a promise to appear at all court proceedings.

No details have been released about the allegations. The grand jury indictments only listed the crimes with which White is charged and do not provide additional information on the case.

White, Senior Assistant Attorney General Josh Lief and Assistant Attorney General James Herring declined comment on the case after the hearing.

Judge Carroll Weimer Jr. asked White if she had hired an attorney yet, and White said she needed more time. She requested a December or January timeframe.

Weimer replied, “We’re not going to do that.”

“I need to set this case,” he said. “Another couple weeks maybe, but I’m not waiting months.”

Weimer initially said White would have two weeks to hire an attorney, but scheduling put her next court date at 9 a.m. Oct. 21.

Weimer provided White a form to sign indicating she has a right to a public defender if she cannot afford an attorney. He said if she continues to appear without a lawyer, it could be considered a waiver of her right to counsel.

“We’ll work with you a little bit, but this case needs to get on the docket and set for trial,” he said.

The county Registrar’s Office has said White’s conduct did not impact the outcome of any election, but has not commented on any specific allegations.

White held the post from February 2015 until her resignation in April 2021. Current Registrar Eric Olsen assumed the role Nov. 8.

White faces between three and 21 years cumulatively on the charges plus up to a $7,500 fine.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

 

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