Federal prosecutors credit guilty ex-W.Va. sheriff

CHARLESTON (AP) — A former West Virginia county sheriff may get a break when he’s sentenced this week for his role in an election fraud scheme.

Federal prosecutors say former Lincoln County Sheriff Jerry Bowman greatly aided the investigation into fraudulent absentee ballots cast in 2010.

Bowman has pleaded guilty to conspiring to influence outcomes in his county’s Democratic primary with the absentee ballots.

Prosecutors say Bowman’s cooperation recently helped them convince Lincoln County Commissioner Thomas Ramey to resign and plead guilty for his part in the scheme.

Bowman also helped the prosecution of James Matheny. A jury convicted the Lincoln County resident of threatening election fraud investigators at gunpoint.

Bowman faces a Wednesday sentencing along with co-conspirator and ex-Lincoln County Clerk Donald Whitten. Prosecutors haven’t filed a substantial assistance motion for Whitten.

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