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    Sunday, June 16, 2024

    Ex-city councilman admits rigging votes in election twice postponed due to election fraud

    A former Connecticut city councilman pleaded guilty to a civil rights crime in federal court Monday for rigging absentee ballots in a 2017 council race that dragged on for months because of allegations of election fraud.

    Michael DeFilippo admitted forging absentee ballots in the names of college students who rented apartments in multi-family homes he owns on Bridgeport’s north side.

    The students were not eligible to vote in the election for which three Democratic primaries were held — the first two were  overturned because of allegations of voting irregularities — before DeFilippo, 37, won the general election in June 2018.

    Federal prosecutors said DeFilippo falsified ballots in primaries in 2017 and 2018. They said he stole and forged voter registration applications to obtain absentee ballots and then forged the names of ineligible voters on the ballots and submitted them.

    DeFilippo pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law, admitting that he deprived voters of a fair election. When he is sentenced on a date not yet determined he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of one year and a fine of up to $100,000.  He is released on bond pending sentencing.

    The 2017 campaign for the 133rd Council District was a long one, even by Bridgeport standards. The candidate who lost the first primary by a single vote, appealed the outcome in court. A judge ordered a second primary, but threw the results of that one out too after more evidence of ballot fraud.

    The general election took place in the summer 2018 after a third primary. DeFilippo resigned his seat after being indicted in 2021.

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