Last week a Fort Worth, Texas jury convicted a legal permanent resident from Mexico of illegally casting ballots in five elections going back to 2004.
Rosa Maria Ortega, 37, who holds a green card and is married with four children, was sentenced to eight years in prison and could face deportation after serving her time.
Ortega’s defense attorney, Clark Birdsall, said President Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud in last year’s elections were the “800-pound gorilla” in the jury box.
Associated Press reporter Paul Weber, who spoke with NewsHour Weekend’s Hari Sreenivasan on Sunday, said Ortega had lived in the U.S. “basically since she was an infant” and her decisions to cast ballots over several elections were mistakes.
Elections experts told Weber during his reporting that “they can’t recall a penalty this harsh” because of voter fraud.
“Keep in mind that election fraud is very rare and convictions are even rarer,” Weber said. “Most people who are convicted of election fraud typically receive sentences such as probation.”
You can watch Weber’s full interview with the NewsHour Weekend’s Hari Sreenivasan in the player above.
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