FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) - I-Team 8 has obtained new information in the case of Charlie White that two private investigators said was never used but could have cleared the former secretary of state's name.
24-Hour News 8 anchor Karen Hensel has the exclusive investigation into the top election official ousted from office for voter fraud. In his only interview since being sentenced last Thursday, White said if he had the trial to do over again, he would do two things very differently: take the witness stand, and use his cell phone records.
He has two experienced private investigators questioning why cell phone records were never used as evidence. They said they hold the evidence to prove White never should have been convicted on the six felony counts in his voter fraud trial.
Investigators take issue with expert witness
Tim Wilcox of International Investigators LLC has been an investigator for 42 years. Wilcox believes White did not get a fair trial.
"The jury was not given the evidence that could change their minds," he said. "His attorney decided not to present the key witnesses, and we had the key witness."
That key witness, Wilcox said, is Ryan Harmon, a former Indiana State Police officer who once worked on the public corruption section as a detective and retired after being investigated in connection with a hit-and-run accident. He is now a private investigator.
"Their State Police investigator had no knowledge in cell phone tower triangulation," Wilcox said, noting that Harmon does.
Harmon explained why cell records could have changed opinions on White's residency: "The cell records are not just a day and time. We have longitude and latitude of the towers. We have different azimuth laid out."
Why was evidence left out?
In a 24-Hour News 8 exclusive interview, White explained why the cell phone records were not used in his defense.
"We felt (prosecutors) didn't meet the burden, so lets not put on a case," he said. "If you don't meet your burden, the defendant doesn't have to bring any evidence."
He now says that was a mistake.
The case against White centers around this: He used his ex-wife's address, where he used to live, instead of a condo he shared with his then-fiance, on his voter registration form. Prosecutors said it's because he didn't want to give up his Fishers Town Council salary after moving out of the district he was elected to represent. White and the two private investigators said it's because he was never actually living in the condo.
That's where the cell phone records come in. Nearly two years of phone calls - 30,000 records. Harmon conducted a specific technique called triangulation to analyze them.
"During a six-month period, I looked at every night where the last call was made and the first call in the morning," Harmon said, because the last call made was most likely where White stayed all night.
Cell records tell a different story
"48 percent of the time over a six-month period, this phone was on tower 74," Harmon said. "Tower 74 is the tower in question where the condo is located."
Harmon then looked at the stats just during the work week, assuming White stayed at the condo to see the then-fiance on weekends. Cell records show the percentage of time he spent there dropped dramatically during the week.
"12 percent of the time in a six-month time, Monday through Friday, on that tower. Back it down to a Sunday-Thursday work week, and it is 9 percent," Harmon said. "It doesn't fit. He was not living at the condo. He was visiting the condo."
Harmon said the cell phone records show White only stayed there nine nights in more than three months.
"Let's look at the date when the felonious acts took place on May 4, 2010, when Mr. White committed this felony by voting," Harmon said. "96 days leading up to May 4, there was only nine nights in 96 days one could logically conclude he stayed at the condominium. Out of 96 days. To me, that is beyond a reasonable doubt."
Then, when White got remarried, 16 days after voting, on May 20, Harmon said: "The records tripled on tower 74. He is living at the condo now. He is married."
White said his attorneys thought the state had not met their burden of proof, and thought the jury would end up on their side without all of this cell phone testimony. While supporting his attorneys' work, he now regrets the decision, admitting the jury is not made up of attorneys.
White says he should have testified
White said as a political figure, he should have also made a different decision and taken the stand.
"We made decisions, thinking from a lawyer's perspective, that they didn't meet their burden," he said. "But if I had to do it all over again, if I got that second chance, I know now if you are a political figure who has been talked about, these are normal people, and they need to see you up there. They need an explanation. Even if legally they don't need to have it, they need to get it.
"That's not something a lawyer would necessarily advise,
but having been through this, it's something you have to advise if you are defending a public figure."
As for what he calls the second mistake White said: "If I get a chance again, I have no problem bringing it all out, showing the text messages, because usually if you are texting someone you are not sitting next to them or with them."
White's attorney was unavailable for comment, but I-Team 8 took the issue of whether the detective was expert enough to interpret the records to Indiana State Police.
A spokesmans said the "testimony regarding cell phone information was addressed by an employee of Verizon for the better part of an hour."
The cost of the trial
How much did the prosecution of White cost the state and taxpayers? We've asked the office of the Indiana attorney general and Hamilton County auditor, who said the bill has not yet been submitted by the special prosecutor. He did not return our calls.
An Indianapolis mother was sentenced in court Thursday for child neglect charges.
Officials with the Indianapolis Colts say tickets are still available for the Colts vs. Texans game Sunday.
Fire crews in Anderson were on the scene of a building fire Thursday afternoon.