- The Washington Times - Friday, August 2, 2002

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is scheduled to hear Mayor Anthony A. Williams' appeal on Tuesday.

But the appeal may keep the Board of Elections and Ethics from meeting its deadline to mail out about 4,000 absentee ballots.

The board usually mails out the ballots 35 days before the election, and Tuesday is the deadline.

But, by order of the court, the board can do nothing until the appeal ruling comes down.

The board may have to ask for additional funds from the city to express mail the absentee ballots, elections board officials said.

The appeal will be heard by Associate Judges Michael Farrell, Inez Reid-Smith and Eric Washington.

Mr. Williams' attorneys Douglas J. Patton and Vincent Mark Policy and elections board General Counsel Ken McGhie with Dorothy Brizill and the D.C. Watch group will have 30 minutes each to give their opening arguments.

Mr. Williams' former campaign adviser, Charles Duncan, and petition circulators Robert Yeldell, Ann Lewis, Scott Bishop Jr., Scott Bishop Sr. and Crystal Bishop have all been subpoenaed.

The hearing will take place at the D.C. Superior Court at 10:30 a.m.

Several prominent District lawyers said the ruling could go either way. But all said that the court has a penchant for ruling in favor of city agencies. And the court rarely makes a ruling from the bench, which may prolong the appeal process.

The elections board kicked Mr. Williams' name off the Sept. 10 Democratic primary ballot a week ago.

Board members said they felt obligated to deny him a spot on the ballot because the 945 "presumptively valid signatures" the Bishops collected could not be verified.

Scott A. Bishop Sr. and his son Scott A. Bishop Jr. invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer any questions about the signatures.

The board also noted that Mr. Williams' attorneys conceded in the mayor's response to challenges from the D.C. Watch group that 214 pages of signatures collected by the Bishops were forged.

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