Russ in Court Again

A seven member jury heard opening arguments Tuesday in the case of Glendell Russ. The former Quincy city commissioner who was once charged with vote tampering is in another court battle.

The state is trying the case again after Russ was found guilty in a trial back in 2000 on the same accusations, later winning on an appeal.

Russ's attorney maintains his client is not guilty. Former Quincy City Commissioner Glendell Russ is facing two counts of interfering with the right to vote, one count of false swearing and another count of corruptly influencing voting.

"Evidence will basically show that this defendant directed his efforts towards using the absentee ballot system illegally in order to obtain votes for candidate Mr. Baker," says prosecutor Richard Combs.

The Baker in question is Gary Baker, who the state says Russ did campaign work for in 1999 and who was running for a Quincy city commission seat. Russ is being accused again of influencing Nancy Williams, an elderly woman, to sign an absentee ballot in addition to influencing her vote.

Armando Garcia, defense attorney, says, "As to these accusations, no crime was committed and Glen Russ is not guilty."

The woman's daughter, Virginia Davis, says she witnessed Russ talking with her mother and that she saw an absentee ballot.

Virginia says, “He was talking to her and she had an absentee ballot in her hand. He was telling her something about. I really didn't here the conversation because I left out and went back to work.”

Quincy City Commissioner Keith Dowdell testified that Davis alerted him to what she'd witnessed at her mother's house.

"Those are different kinds of statements don't you agree, Mr. Glen dell telling someone who to vote for and filling out the ballot?" says Dowdell.

Tuesday the court also heard testimony from Nancy Williams herself in the form of a transcript made back in 2000. She was not present in the courtroom due to health reasons.

Wednesday Defense Attorney Garcia plans to let the court hear a second transcript from Nancy's husband Thomas who was apparently home when Glendell Russ stopped by.