A Virginia man has pleaded guilty to forging thousands of signatures in trying to get former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on the ballot in the state’s 2012 presidential primary, an NBC affiliate in Charlottesville reported.
In December 2011, Adam Ward, 28, collected more than 11,000 signatures, according to prosecutors, but investigators could not verify more than 4,000 of them, WVIR reported.
Mr. Ward has pleaded guilty to 36 counts of voter fraud and perjury.
Mr. Gingrich was one of several GOP presidential candidates who failed to amass the necessary 10,000 petition signatures to get on the Virginia primary ballot and who launched an unsuccessful lawsuit to try to do so. That led to a one-on-one match-up between eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney and former Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican. Mr. Romney took about 60 percent of the vote.
At a campaign stop in Iowa in December 2011, Mr. Gingrich essentially admitted as much, though his estimate differs from the number of signatures investigators could not verify.
“We hired somebody who turned in false signatures,” he said then. “We turned in 11,100 — we needed 10,000 — 1,500 of them were by one guy who frankly committed fraud.”