Kelty indicted on nine counts
From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:
An Allen County grand jury indicted Republican mayoral candidate Matt Kelty on Tuesday, charging him with seven felonies and two misdemeanors.
Kelty, 42, is charged with two counts of perjury, five felony counts of fraudulent election filing and two misdemeanor counts of commingling campaign and personal funds, special prosecutor Dan Sigler said.
Last month, Sigler requested a grand jury be empaneled to explore the issue of whether Kelty broke the law in how he reported $158,000 in loans on his campaign-finance reports.
After more than a week of hearing evidence and listening to about 15 witnesses, the grand jury returned its decision, which was under seal for about three hours until Kelty was officially charged.
Kelty was taken in handcuffs to the Allen County Lockup, where he was released about 1 1/2 hours later on his own recognizance. If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison on each felony charge and up to 180 days in jail on the misdemeanor charges.
Sigler said it was unlikely Kelty would be tried before the November election.
The grand jury, a rarely used proceeding in Indiana, is a way for prosecutors to further investigate an issue away from the public eye. The hearings are not open to the public. Only the prosecutor, his or her assistants, a court reporter and the court bailiff are allowed inside.
The grand jury does not have to find guilt – only the probability that a crime was committed, that the accused person did it and that the person should be tried. Only five of the six jurors have to agree for an indictment to be issued.
Sigler has declined to identify who he subpoenaed to testify, including Kelty, who was at the Courthouse with his criminal defense attorney for several hours last week.
Last week, Kelty declined to say whether he was called to testify, and left from an adjoining room. All he would say, as he walked quickly from the Courthouse, was that he was going to cooperate in every way with the grand jury.
Also seen coming from the adjoining room at a separate time was his campaign adviser, Fred Rost, who was accompanied by criminal defense attorney Charles Leonard.
Grand jury members can be empaneled for as few as three months or up to two years, according to state law.
In June, the Allen County Election Board voted 2-1 along party lines that the loans were properly reported.
The next day, Common Cause of Indiana, a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog group, filed a complaint with County Prosecutor Karen Richards asking that she investigate the matter. About 24 hours later, Richards announced the appointment of Sigler as special prosecutor.