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Ex-Philadelphia Congressman Ozzie Myers charged with ballot box stuffing, bribery

(Reuters) - A former Democratic Congressman from Philadelphia, who served a prison term after being caught in a famous 1970s FBI sting, has been indicted for multiple election offences committed over the last six years, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

The Justice Department said former Congressman Michael “Ozzie” Myers was charged with conspiring to violate voting rights by fraudulently stuffing ballot boxes in support of specific candidates in primary elections in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Myers, 77, was also charged with bribery of an election official, falsifying records, voting more than once in federal elections and obstruction of justice, with charges filed on Tuesday and unsealed Thursday, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors allege that Myers bribed Domenick Demuro, a former Philadelphia elections judge. Demuro earlier this year pleaded guilty in federal court in Philadelphia to charges of accepting bribes to cast fraudulent ballots and certifying false voting results during the 2014, 2015, and 2016 primary elections in Philadelphia.

Prosecutors say Myers bribed Demuro to illegally add votes for certain candidates in primary elections. The indictment says Myers solicited “consulting fees” from clients and then used some of this money to pay off Demuro and others for tampering with election results.

No defense lawyer for Myers is listed in court records.

Myers represented a Philadelphia Congressional district between 1976 and 1980. His political career ended when he was indicted and imprisoned after being caught in a famous sting operation codenamed “Abscam,” in which FBI agents posing as Arab sheikhs offered bribes in return for political favors.

At one point during the investigation, Myers was recorded by the FBI declaring: “Money talks in this business and bullshit walks.”

Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Editing by Scott Malone and Bernadette Baum

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