INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Ousted Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White said Friday he was "elated" to receive a sentence of home detention for his conviction on felony charges including voter fraud.
White was sentenced to a year of home detention for six felony convictions that a judge refused to reduce to lesser crimes, which might have allowed him to return to office. Each count carried a potential penalty of up to three years in prison. The sentence was handed down Thursday.
"After last night we felt a stone has been lifted off our chest. Most important is spending time with my wife, my son and step children," White told Indianapolis television station WISH-TV (http://bit.ly/xcQThj ). "We were elated."
Despite being ousted from office by his felony convictions, and facing the possibility of losing his law license, White said he feels blessed.
"Because I am with my wife and kids and so much has happened in the last year," he said. "I never thought I would ever be in a situation like this, but when you go through this it makes you appreciate what you do have and family is a million times more important than politics or any type of career. So that's why I was in a way elated."
White could be reinstated if his conviction is reversed on appeal, unless the state Supreme Court upholds a lower court ruling that found his 2010 candidacy invalid. Oral arguments are scheduled for next week.
Democrats contend White was never eligible to run for office because he was improperly registered to vote. They want White's candidacy declared invalid so that runner-up Vop Osili, a Democrat who lost to White by about 300,000 votes, can be named to the job. The secretary of state also oversees business registrations and enforces Indiana's securities laws.
Gov. Mitch Daniels named White's chief deputy, Jerry Bonnet, interim secretary of state after White's Feb. 4 conviction, but he isn't expected to make a permanent appointment until the Supreme Court rules.
Information from: WISH-TV, http://www.wishtv.com/