Rosa María Ortega, 37, was convicted in Fort Worth on two felony counts of illegal voting over allegations that she improperly cast a ballot five times between 2005 and 2014. Additionally, Ortega reportedly told investigators that she had tried become a citizen, but the assistant attorney general involved with the case said that Ortega never did start the process.
Ortega was close to escaping serious punishment for the offense, and her attorney supposedly set up a plea deal with Texas' attorney general, Ken Paxton. "Safeguarding the integrity of our elections is essential to preserving our democracy", he responds. Birdsall said he wanted to steer the jury of 10 women and two men from any lingering thoughts about Trump's unproven claims that 3 million people illegally voted in 2016 but the judge wouldn't allow him.
The sentence was stark - voter fraud convictions, which are rare, many times result in probation.
At trial, Ortega made conflicting statements in her defense.
Ortega was a registered Republican who had been voting for more than a decade, he said.
Lacking the permanent resident option, he said, she ticked the "citizen" box. "If she had taken no for an answer, all of this would have been swept away".
Ortega testified that she wasn't aware of the rights granted to citizens and the rights granted to residents.
As reported by the New York Times, Ortega's lawyer backed her claim and pointed to what he views as inconsistencies in the law. He said she voted Republican, including for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose office helped prosecute her, AP reported.
Told that she could not vote unless she was a citizen, she asked for another application, and returned it with a check in the box affirming citizenship. "The fact that she got eight years is off the rails".
Sam Jordan, a spokeswoman for Wilson, said the decision to prosecute had "absolutely nothing" to do with immigration.
"This is a voter rights case", she said. Birdsall recalled one case where a Houston-area group was sentenced to three years in prison after they listed a hotel as their residence in order to change the outcome of a local election.
Ortega's attorney said the mother of four will undoubtedly be deported. "The timing of this was the ideal storm". "You have leftists and allies in the media who want to downplay voter fraud because frankly, a lot of Democrats and their allies rely on the ability to steal elections to obtain and retain power". A federal appeals court ruled in July that the state's strict voter-ID law discriminates against minority voters.