Jerry Trabona (age 72 and a former Amite police chief in Amite) and Kristian “Kris” Hart (age 49 and a current Amite councilmember) pleaded guilty Wednesday (July 20, 2022) in New Orleans, Louisiana, to criminally violating federal election laws as part of a conspiracy to pay, or offer to pay, voters for voting in a federal election.
According to court documents, Trabona and and Hart pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay and offering to pay voters residing in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, for voting in the 2016 open primary election and the 2016 open general election. Trabona and Hart admitted that they agreed with each other and others to pay or offer to pay voters during contests in which the defendants were candidates, and in which federal candidates appeared on the same ballot.
In addition to the conspiracy with Trabona, Hart pleaded guilty to three counts of paying and offering to pay voters during both the 2016 and 2020 elections. In both elections, Hart was running for the seat he currently holds on the Amite City Council.
Both defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on November 1, 2022 and face up to five years in prison on each count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.