Wayne Turner, a partner with Bingham Greenbaum, presented Lugar's defense. He argued that the Board's jurisdiction only allowed it to make a referral to the Attorney General or Marion County Prosecutor if the Board found that the Lugars had violated the election law by voting at 3200 Highwoods Court. Turner also pointed out how Lugar had relied on the opinion of the Marion County Voter Registration Board which said the Lugars were free to continue using the 3200 Highwoods Court address to vote from as long as Sen. Lugar served in the Senate. Turner also pointed to the opinion of a Deputy Attorney General's opinion (that was apparently not signed off on by then AG Ted Sendak) and opinions from former AG Linley Pearson. Those opinions suggested that Lugar, for voting purposes, maintained his residency at the house he sold.
Turner made a strong presentation But I got the impression he didn't 100% believe his client's position. Any attorney worth his or her salt would have long ago advised Lugars to stop signing documents under oath that they resides at a house they clearly have not lived in for 35 years and to get an actual residence in the state. Turner strikes me as the sort of attorney that would have given Lugar exactly that advice. Where Turner excelled was in arguing that Lugar had not done anything criminal because the voter fraud statute requires knowledge that the person is breaking the law, not just knowledge the person is committing the act. By relying on legal opinions, Turner argued Lugar shielded himself from criminal consequences should he be found to have violated the law.
Turner's brief lacked the detailed legal arguments that Welsh's contained, relying instead on a lot of exhibits, including a nonsensical law professor's opinion, media reports and the aforementioned Board of Registration and Attorney General opinions. I can't fault Turner though. He simply didn't have a strong legal argument.
The Election Board members asked a number of questions of the attorneys and made several statements during the course of the hearing. Republican Patrick Dietrick particularly focused on a newly-executed, self-serving affidavit by Sen. Lugar that said he was a resident of Indiana and fully intended to return to Indiana after his service ended. Dietrick offered the argument that although Lugar abandoned the home at 3200 Highwoods Court, he didn't abandon his "residence." But Dietrick never identified where that Lugar "residence" was located.
|Andrew J. Mallon|
By a 2-1 vote, the Election Board agreed with Mallon that the Lugars had committed an election law violation by voting at the Wayne Township precinct encompassing 3200 Highwoods Court. The Lugars still have a month to register with a new residence.
The rumor now is that Sen. Lugar is going to appeal the decision. That would be a foolish decision. While Lugar might be able to get some political considerations by going to an elected county judge, the fact is he's just going to increase the publicity that he's running for Senate and doesn't have a home in Indiana. Lugar's voter registration and inhabitancy problem are easily fixable. He just needs to get an apartment and start staying there on occasion when he comes back to Indiana. Problem solved. The only reason to not do it is Lugar's incomprehensible arrogance.