|Nick Englesson with Malta Ortiz and Olga Negron|
The challenge against Englesson was premised primarily on his circulator affidavits. He executed 16 affidavits attesting that he had obtained the signatures to his nomination petition, but in fact, signatures were obtained by numerous other circulators. He attempted to cure this defect by having each circulator file an affidavit. Judge Dally stuck all signatures that Englesson failed to obtain himself.
During the hearing, Englesson frankly admitted that he failed to have his individual circulators execute an affidavit, calling it an "oversight." "There was nothing nefarious about it," he assured Judge Dally at least three times. "There was no intent to deceive anybody. Nobody was harmed by it and I had nothing to gain by it."
As finder of fact, Judge Dally concluded that "any error in the completion of the Circulator Affidavits was purely accidental, and not done for some fraudulent purpose." But following the dictates of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, he refused to accept any signatures that Englesson failed to obtain himself. Judge Dally also struck several signatures from people who previously signed the nomination petitions of other csndidates, as well as several signatures that were defective for other reasons.
In the end, Attorney Englesson was left with 121 valid signatures on his Republican petition and 111 good Democratic signatures. He exceeded the 100 minimum needed to get on the ballot.
Throughout this ordeal, Englesson has been besieged by anonymous comments on this blog, suggesting he be disbarred or charged with "purjury."
I felt bad for Nick, so before the hearing got started, I tried to calm him down.
"Nick, I just want you to know that being disbarred is not as bad as it's cracked up to be. I can teach you how to search titles."
Later, during a break, I decided to comfort Nick again.
"Nick, I just want you to know that I'm sure Morganelli would seriously consider ARD if you apply."
Later that night, I sent him an email telling him that I could help him get his passport renewed almost immediately.
He never answered.
At one point, Nick told me that before this challenge, only one person had ever questioned his integrity.
"You! You always were filing motions accusing me of prosecutorial misconduct."
"Well, prosecutorial misconduct is not really unethical, Nick."
The Whittington camp has hinted it intends to appeal. That's his right, and i understand him being upset. But it would be unwise. Other than this blog, there's been very little coverage of this challenge. If Whittington appeals, he is inviting more scrutiny. He will look like a bully and will almost certainly lose the appeal and his race.
Let the people decide, just as Judge Dally ruled.
(Blogger's Note: Originally published on 3/21/17 at 5:27 pm)