BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — A federal grand jury in Hartford returned an indictment Tuesday charging a Bridgeport City Council member with multiple election crimes.
Michael DeFilippo, 35, was charged with one count of conspiracy against rights, four counts of identity theft and 11 counts of fraudulent registration in connection to his run for city council in 2017 and 2018.
The conspiracy offense carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and the identity theft and fraudulent registration offenses carry a maximum term of imprisonment of five years on each count.
DeFilippo has been a Bridgeport City Council member since 2018, representing the 133rd District, and owns several rental properties in the city that he leases to Sacred Heart University students.
In the indictment, it is alleged that in connection to the 133rd District’s primaries and general election for city council in 2017 and 2018, DeFilippo and others conspired to interfere with and obstruct Bridgeport citizens’ right to vote by falsifying his tenants’ voter registration applications and absentee ballot applications, then stealing tenants’ absentee ballots and forging their signatures in order to fraudulently vote for DeFilippo.
DeFilippo appeared before a federal judge in New Haven Wednesday and entered a plea of not guilty to the charges. He was released on a $250,000 bond.
“The right to vote and have one’s vote counted in a fair and impartial election is the foundation of our democracy,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Boyle. “It is alleged that this defendant violated that right to help himself win election to the Bridgeport City Council, including by stealing ballots and forging signatures. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our FBI partners will continue to vigorously enforce federal laws to safeguard our elections.”
Boyle stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt and that each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan N. Francis and David E. Novick.