Former aide charged with forging signatures on assemblyman’s petition

A former aide to Assemblyman Brian Miller was charged with five felony counts of forgery this week for allegedly forging voters’ signatures on Miller’s Conservative Party petition.

Kajus Normantas, a 22-year-old Albany resident, was arraigned in Albany City Court on Wednesday and released to await further court action, state police said in a press release.

City and State website reported in July that Normantas, a paid intern in the Republican freshman’s office, had collected 73 signatures – the exact number Miller needed to qualify for the Conservative line – that all looked similar, and that 14 voters whose names were listed told a reporter they hadn’t signed the petition. Miller later told the Times Herald-Record that Normantas, after being “repeatedly dishonest” with him, admitted he “took matters into his own hands and may have broken the law.” Miller said he fired the aide, and pledged to cooperate with any investigation.

Chad McEvoy, the Democrat challenging Miller for the 101st District seat, sued to try to invalidate the Conservative petition, but an Orange County judge dismissed the case last month, ruling that Miller’s petition had enough valid signatures to qualify even if all 73 that Normantas collected were stricken. As a result, Miller will retain four ballot lines for the Nov. 6 general election, and McEvoy will have three.

The 101st District spans seven counties and includes seven towns in Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties: Montgomery, Crawford, Shawangunk, Wawarsing, Neversink, Denning and Hardenburgh.

McEvoy, whose campaign first noticed and called attention to the suspiciously similar signatures, said in a press release about Normantas’ arrest on Friday that the caper showed Miller’s “lack of vetting and oversight,” and that he hoped the criminal case will conclude before the Nov. 6 election so voters will know if the aide “acted on his own.”

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    Chris McKenna covers Orange County government and politics for the Times Herald-Record. He has been a reporter at the newspaper since 1999. Read Full

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