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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Judge rejects Florida House primary challenge



Both key witnesses at the center of the contested House District 107 race denied collecting fraudulent absentee ballots on behalf of the Miami Gardens Democrat who narrowly won the primary.

Wednesday’s testimony prompted Leon County Chief Circuit Judge Charles Francis to rule against Rep. John Patrick Julien, a North Miami candidate who had alleged fraud in trying to overturn his primary election loss to Rep. Barbara Watson.

“I do not think from what I’ve heard today there is sufficient evidence to go further,” Francis said.

Josna testifies via Skype from the Miami-area office of Julien's attorney.

Julien, who lost the Aug. 14 primary by just 13 votes, had hoped testimony from Carline Paul, 54, the host of a Haitian Creole-language radio show, and Noucelie Josna, the self-described “Queen of Absentee Ballots,” would help prove his case.

But both women testified that their work for Watson — she paid Paul $1,000 and Josna roughly $4,000 — was within the law.

Julien beat Watson on Election Day, but lost badly in absentee ballots. He has focused his complaint on two districts where he says fraudulent ballots were cast by nursing home residents.

Read more here.

[Last modified: Thursday, October 18, 2012 9:34am]


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