Lawyer and former mayor Thomas Esposito was on the Logan County, W.Va., ballot as a candidate for the state House of Delegates. He wasn’t really running for office but was part of an FBI sting, reports the Washington Post. Yesterday, a defense attorney accusing the government of “outrageous” conduct that robbed 2,175 citizens who voted for Esposito of a constitutional right.
A federal judge yesterday sided with the government, ruling that corruption in Logan County had been endemic “for longer than living memory” and that the bogus election campaign might have been the only way to root it out. Esposito, as part of a plea bargain, helped provide evidence in a vote-buying scheme. The FBI withdrew Esposito from the race two days after the transaction, The Justice Department has said alerted alert the public by way of the media. But his name remained on the ballot, and on primary day — May 11, 2004 — he got more than 2,000 votes, placing last in the field.