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Court Battle Over Forged Signatures Could Have Statewide Impact

A court battle between two legislative candidates over forged signatures on nominating petitions could have statewide implications. 

A trial judge ruled last week that several signatures on petitions circulated by Toby Farmer, in his campaign against State Sen. Don Shooter, had been forged. But the judge says there is no proof Farmer knew about the forgeries, even though he signed an affidavit saying he witnessed them. 

Attorney Tim La Sota, representing Shooter, concedes he can’t prove Farmer knew about the forgeries.  He wants the state Supreme Court to rule there’s enough circumstantial evidence to show the only explanation is that Farmer knew.

“In order to believe that he not only witnessed the signatures but knew nothing about it, you have to believe that multiple people decided — five we showed at trial — decided they were going to come up and sign and forge this petition sheet," La Sota said.

La Sota warned the justices that allowing the lower court ruling to stand would mean no candidate could be knocked off the ballot for misconduct, even with forged signatures, without video tape, witnesses or an actual confession.