PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A former congressman from Philadelphia pleaded guilty Monday to charges related to fraudulently stuffing ballot boxes for Democratic candidates between 2014 and 2018.
Federal prosecutors said former Democratic U.S. Rep. Michael J. “Ozzie” Myers pleaded guilty to violations of election law, conspiracy, bribery and obstruction.
Messages seeking comment were left for his defense lawyers listed on the online docket.
In a sentencing memo dated Friday, federal prosecutors said his “criminal efforts were generally, although not exclusively, directed at securing election victories for local judicial candidates running for Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas or Municipal Court who had employed Myers as a ‘political consultant.’”
Myers was expelled from Congress in 1980 after being caught taking bribes in the Abscam sting investigation.
Prosecutors said Myers, 79, admitted he bribed a judge of elections to add votes for his chosen candidates, including clients who were running for judicial offices. The bribes were hundreds or thousands of dollars.
He also conspired with another elections judge to tell voters on election days which candidates they should vote for, candidates that Myers had selected, and the now former judge cast fraudulent votes for people who did not appear at the polls.
“Votes are not things to be purchased and democracy is not for sale,” U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said in a news release.
In the Abscam sting, Myers was convicted of bribery and conspiracy for taking money from FBI agents who posed as Arab sheiks. He served more than a year in prison.
Myers also served six years in the Pennsylvania House before his 1976 election to Congress.