Relatives of Mo. lawmaker plead guilty to voter fraud

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The aunt and uncle of a Democratic Missouri lawmaker have pleaded guilty to state charges related to voter fraud in an election that their nephew won by a single vote.

John Moretina, 60, and Clara Moretina, 61, pleaded guilty Friday to the misdemeanor charge of committing class-three election offenses, according to a news release from Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

The Moretinas admitted to voting in an election they knew they were not entitled to vote, court documents said. They lived in Gladstone but admitted to giving a false address that allowed them to vote in the 40th House District where their nephew, John Rizzo, was a candidate.

Rizzo defeated Will Royster by a single vote in the August 2010 Democratic primary. Royster alleged voter fraud at the time, but an appeals court rejected his request for a new election.

As part of a plea agreement, the Moretinas agreed to pay a fine of $250. The guilty plea also prohibits the two from voting in any future elections.

"Justice was done," Peters Baker said in a news release. "These two will never vote again."

The investigation into the Mortinas began after John Mortina pleaded guilty to voter fraud in federal court in May of 2013.

Rizzo won re-election last year and remains in the Missouri House.

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