The first of two much-anticipated trials for Compton Councilmember Isaac Galvan got underway Monday afternoon in downtown Los Angeles. Galvan is being sued in civil court by Andre Spicer after Spicer lost the June 2021 runoff election to Galvan by one vote. In criminal court, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has charged Galvan and five other people with conspiring to commit election fraud during the June runoff to ensure Galvan would retain his seat. Galvan was charged with conspiracy to commit election fraud and attempted bribery with intent to influence an election. Five other people — including Jace Dawson, who ran for the same seat in the primary before partnering up with Galvan to commit voter fraud– were charged with conspiracy to commit election fraud. With the exception of Dawson and Galvan who entered not guilty pleas, the others have pleaded no contest.
We interrupt your regular programming to bring you this special announcement from Compton Councilmember Isaac Galvan. After being arrested and charged with voter fraud, his constituents asked him to do the right thing and resign the seat he cheated to win. His response… pic.twitter.com/Fs2RWbAaGJ— Jasmyne Cannick (@Jasmyne) August 21, 2021
The civil case is being heard in Department 74 before Judge Michelle Williams Court.
Galvan is being represented in both the criminal and civil case by former Carson Mayor Albert Robles. Spicer is represented by well-known elections law attorney Fred Woocher along with Salvador Pérez. Appearing on behalf of Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan from the Office of County Counsel was attorney Eva Chu.
Before the trial could get started, it was delayed again.
Robles announced to the judge that his client was outside of the courthouse after testing positive for COVID-19. Robles told the judge Galvan had mild symptoms and asked for direction on what to do. Judge Court asked Robles if his client had access to a smartphone or laptop computer so that he could join in the proceedings remotely. A simple enough question. However, Robles said he didn’t know since the FBI had raided his client’s home and seized his computer and phone. He continued that he knew Galvan had gotten the phone back but wasn’t using it. In the next breath, he said he’d step outside and call Galvan on the phone to check and see. I kid you not.
Eventually, it was decided that Galvan would go home and get online and the trial would start at 1:30 p.m. So basically, the entire morning was lost.
Once everyone returned at 1:30 p.m., Judge Court wasted no time in moving things along.
Robles objected to the filing of a trial brief that was overruled. Robles also accused someone in Woocher’s office of being in cahoots with the DA’s office to share information. He came to this conclusion based on the order of the names of the witnesses submitted by Woocher. Robles claimed it was the same exact order as they were listed in the publicly available criminal complaint and somehow that meant someone in the DA’s office was sharing information with Spicer’s team. On top of that, Robles tried to say that a protective order in the criminal case applied to the civil case and argued against the witness list shouldn’t be allowed into evidence. After a few minutes of back and forth on this issue wherein Woocher denied working with the DA’s office and showed the judge, that in fact, it wasn’t the same order as Robles claimed, Robles was overruled on all arguments.
Witness #1 – Tanya Ramirez, Vote By Mail (VBM) Division for the LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office
Woocher reserved his opening statement and called his first witness Tanya Ramirez who oversees the Vote By Mail (VBM) Division for the LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office.
The VBM Division oversees the production of VBM ballots sent to voters in LA County, as well as the receipt, validation, and preparation of returned ballots ahead of tally operations. Depending on the size of the election, the Division may employ up to 300 temporary staff to support operations. The Division also assists with the receipt and initial signature count for all statewide initiatives and referendums.
Woocher had Ms. Ramirez confirm the final official vote count for Compton’s City Council race in District 2.
Isaac Galvan – 50.3% or 855 votes
Andre Spicer – 49.7% or 854 votes
On direct, Woocher asked Ms. Ramirez how her office first became aware there might be some issues with the election in Compton. She replied that her office had received a few emails and an audio recording about voting irregularities. From there, she said that information was submitted to the District Attorney’s Office.
Then Woocher engaged in a lengthy but important line of questioning involving the voter registration records of voters in the April and June 2021 Compton elections.
The questions for all voters involved when they registered to vote, what address they registered with, did they vote in the April Primary Election, did they vote in the June Runoff Election, and their previous voter registrations prior to Compton.
Here’s what Ms. Ramirez testified to.
Kimberly Chaouch is currently registered to vote in the city of Compton at 3021 N. Sante Fe Avenue, Apartment 3. She was registered to vote on April 5, 2021, and up until that date had never been registered to vote anywhere else in LA County. She voted in the April primary and June runoff. Ms. Chaouch is named in the criminal complaint.
Toni Morris is currently registered to vote in the city of Compton at 3021 N. Sante Fe Avenue, Apartment 3. She registered to vote on April 8, 2021. She was previously registered to vote in South LA. She didn’t vote in the April primary but did vote in the June runoff. Her ballot was put into a dropbox. Ms. Morris is named in the criminal complaint.
Barry Reed registered to vote in Compton on April 21, 2021, with a provisional registration using the address 3021 N. Santa Fe Avenue in Compton. He was previously registered to vote at an address in Baldwin Village. Mr. Reed voted in the April primary and the June runoff. His June ballot was rejected because the signature didn’t match. His ballots were submitted via dropbox. Mr. Reed is named in the criminal complaint.
Reginald Streeter registered to vote on April 20, 2021, at 3021 N. Santa Fe Avenue, Apartment 3 in Compton. He was previously registered to vote at an address in South LA on Cimarron Avenue. He voted in both the April primary and June runoff elections. His ballots were submitted via dropbox. Streeter became an inactive voter in Compton on September 29, 2021, and re-registered to vote at the previous address on Cimarron in South LA. Mr. Streeter is named in the criminal complaint.
Jace Dawson is currently registered to vote in Los Angeles. He was previously registered to vote in Compton at 3021 N. Santa Fe Avenue, Apartment 3 He registered to vote in Compton on November 18, 2020. He was previously registered to vote in Baldwin Village. Jace voted in the April primary and June runoff. He submitted his ballots via a vote center dropoff box. On August 6, 2021, Jace has changed his registration to the same address as Reginald Streeter on Cimarron Avenue in South LA. Mr. Dawson is named in the criminal complaint.
Rhonda Smith registered to vote in Compton on April 21, 2021, using the address 3021 N. Santa Fe Avenue, Apartment 7. Ms. Smith is currently an inactive voter in Compton as of August 31, 2021. She voted via dropbox in the April primary and June runoff elections. Ms. Smith’s June ballot was rejected for a nonmatching center. She was not registered to vote anywhere previously in LA County.
Aaron Sheppard registered to vote in Compton on April 20, 2021, using the address 3021 N. Santa Fe Avenue. Mr. Sheppard is currently an inactive voter in Compton as of August 30, 2021. He voted in the April primary election. Mr. Sheppard was previously registered to vote in Koreatown Los Angeles.
Brandon Cruse registered to vote on April 20, 202, 3021 N. Santa Fe Avenue in Compton. He voted in the April primary but not the June runoff. Mr. Cruse is an inactive voter in Compton. He was previously registered to vote in South LA.
Robert Lee Phillips Jr. registered to vote in Compton on February 10, 2021, using the address 3021 N. Santa Fe Avenue in Compton. He did not vote in April or June.
George Jefferson registered to vote on April 20, 2021, using the address 3021 N. Santa Fe Avenue. Mr. Jefferson voted in the April primary and June runoff elections. He is currently an inactive voter in Compton as of July 8, 2021.
Diamond Lucretia Williams registered to vote on May 7, 2021, using the address 3021 N. Santa Fe Avenue. She did not vote in June and was not previously registered to vote anywhere.
3021 N. Santa Fe Avenue #3 is the address Jace Dawson claimed to live at in Compton while running for City Council against Councilmember Galvan. Jace Dawson is the candidate that I discredited before the April Primary election for not having all of the degrees, jobs, addresses, and endorsements he claimed. After the election, he partnered up with Galvan according to the District Attorney’s criminal complaint.
Audio of an interview with Nina Jo and Alysia Rivers with Kimberly Chaouch who confirms voter fraud in the Compton election involving Isaac Galvan and Jace Dawson. Ms. Chaouch was charged in the criminal complaint and pleaded no contest.
Fox 11 caught up with Compton city council candidate Jace Dawson.
The April Primary Election in Compton took place on April 20, 2021.
Nothing of real interest happened during Robles’ cross-examination except for him trying to insinuate that Latino surnames were more likely to be rejected by the county’s machine for non-matching signatures.
Ms. Ramirez said that was not her knowledge.
Witness #2 – Eva Gomez, Intermediate Typist Clerk, for the LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office
I want to first say that I feel Ms. Gomez could have really benefited from having a translator. I do not think she understood the questions she was being asked. At least, I hope that was the case.
Ms. Gomez testified that she gave Isaac Galvan a tour of the vote count on June 4, 2021. She said that during that tour Galvan asked to speak to her privately and offered her tickets to see a Hispanic band perform. She said she thought he wanted a personal relationship and since she was already seeing someone, declined the tickets. Ms. Gomez testified that she didn’t know who Galvan was and she didn’t report the conversation to her supervisor.
When Woocher asked Ms. Gomez about being propositioned with a bribe she asked him what was a bribe. She then went on to say that she had no idea why she was supposed to go to court in Galvan’s criminal case and that the District Attorney’s Office never talked to her about the tickets. She said she doesn’t know anything about the case.
Ms. Gomez did say that her conversation was overheard by people in the lobby.
We were left to assume that since she didn’t report the conversation, someone who overheard it did.
Robles had no cross-examination.
Witness #3 – Toni Morris, Friend of Jace Dawson
Toni Morris pleaded no contest to her conspiracy to commit voter fraud charges in the criminal case. She testified at the civil trial Monday, that she’s a friend of Jace’s and that he registered her to vote after she gave him her ID to register her. Ms. Morris says Jace told her to go to Compton College and vote for him but that she didn’t end up making it there because of work. Jace said that he had a ballot for her to sign. She signed the envelope but doesn’t know who filled out the ballot. Jace turned in her ballot. She says she found out from the District Attorney’s Office that she was registered to vote at Jace’s address and had been charged with fraud.
She said Jace is currently living in downtown Los Angeles.
Andre Spicer sat attentively in the front row all day and was surrounded by Compton residents and supporters throughout the day.
Court recessed for the day after Ms. Morris’ direct and she’s expected to return to the stand for cross-examination on Tuesday.
The trial is set to resume at 10 a.m. Tuesday with Ms. Morris. Pending the outcome of the trial, Galvan could lose his seat on the Compton City Council. The one he won by one vote.