Eighth defendant convicted on voter fraud charge after jury trial; mixed verdict also exonerated him on perjury charge
BY JENNIFER CABRERA
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – John Boyd Rivers, 45, has been sentenced to two years of probation after a jury found him guilty on May 16 of willfully voting as an unqualified elector but found him innocent of providing false information while registering to vote.
Rivers is the eighth to be sentenced of at least ten convicted felons who registered to vote or voted in 2020 while incarcerated at the Alachua County Jail but were unqualified to vote for various reasons; the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation into the allegations found that Rivers voted in-person in the 2020 General Election while on community control, also known as house arrest, after entering a plea of nolo contendere to felony battery in April 2020. He registered to vote at the jail in February 2020, following his arrest in January 2020.
In an interview on the Ward Scott Files podcast on May 18, investigator Mark Glaeser called the case a “landmark” case because it was the first to go to trial; he said this case sets a precedent for other cases around the state.
Supervisor of Elections and former Outreach Director testified
Former Outreach Director T.J. Pyche was the first witness on the stand, as the person who visited the jail on three separate occasions to register eligible inmates to vote–February 5, 2020; July 15, 2020; and a date in September 2020.
In the interview with Ward Scott, Glaeser said that while Pyche was on the stand, he was asked whether he thought he should have been charged with a crime, and Pyche said, “Presumably.” Pyche was represented by his own attorney in the courtroom, as was Supervisor of Elections Kim Barton.
According to Glaeser, a Sergeant from the Alachua County Jail corroborated Pyche’s testimony that when he spoke to the inmates, he had a script, and he would tell them that all their fines, fees, and restitution must be paid and that if they had any questions about their eligibility, they should contact an attorney. The Sergeant also testified that Pyche had a flyer with contact information for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, the Clerk of Court’s office, and others.
Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Kim Barton took the stand after the Sergeant, and according to Glaeser, she testified that she told Pyche to go inside the County Jail, which had never been done before and hasn’t been done since. Glaeser said Barton was asked whether she received any kind of financial bonus for registering these voters, and she said she did not.
Glaeser pointed out to Ward Scott that Barton’s office received $707,606 from the Center for Tech and Civic Life on September 21, 2020, for the purpose of “planning and operationalizing safe and secure election administration in Alachua County in 2020.” The Center for Tech and Civic Life received at least $400 million from Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan in 2020, and these grants, sometimes called “Zuckerbucks,” were made illegal in Florida in 2021.
Glaeser said that after lunch, FDLE Special Agent Tracey Rousseau described her investigation; she testified that she told Rivers and the other inmates that she was investigating the Supervisor of Elections Office, and Rivers told her he registered to vote and voted. Rousseau reportedly testified that she had recommended charging Pyche with misdemeanors in her sworn complaint, but Glaeser said his research indicated that the statute of limitations on those misdemeanors has expired. Glaeser said in the interview, “Why they took so long to investigate–that’s the question you have to ask yourself: why did they drag their feet in such a manner that when it came time to make a decision, that window had closed.”
Defense attorney: “egregious” that Pyche was not charged with a crime
Glaeser said the most important thing about Pyche, “other than the fact that he was accompanied by an attorney and invoked his Fifth Amendment rights when FDLE tried to interview him, was the fact that the defense attorney, in front of [Judge James Colaw], outside of the jury’s earshot, said that he felt like these ten inmates getting set up and the Supervisor of Elections Office employee not being charged with a crime was, and I quote, ‘egregious.'”
Glaeser added that while the jury was out of the room, “The judge was dismayed that the [Supervisor of Elections] would even consider sending someone into the jail under the circumstances, with such a high propensity of voters who were ineligible to vote–those who were awaiting transport to state prison, those who were serving current felony sentences, those who were felons who had not paid their fines, fees, and/or restitution.”
Glaeser concluded, “Why are these guys getting charged, but the supervisor is off the hook, and the supervisor’s employee? I believe that’s, at the end of the day, why Count 1 was found ‘Not Guilty’… because there was enough question about the Supervisor’s involvement and how they facilitated this, how this never would have happened without them taking the extra step of going into the jail, without being able to verify exactly what they told these inmates.”
Glaeser said Rivers testified that Pyche told him he could vote if he was not a sex offender or a murderer and that Pyche’s actions “resonated with the jury,” along with evidence that Rivers was “misled or given instruction that was contrary to state law, so the jury was able to find some reasonable doubt” on the charge of providing false information while registering to vote.
The jury deliberated briefly before returning the mixed verdict.
Andrew Darling, Rivers’ attorney, told Alachua Chronicle, “The jury followed the instruction of the Court and evaluated the unique facts of our case. While we do not believe the State proved its case beyond and to the exclusion of all reasonable doubt, we understand how the jury concluded that they did.”
Referring to testimony during the trial alleging that Pyche brought outdated voter registration forms to the jail, Darling added, “The elected Supervisor of Elections set up Alachua County residents for failure and faces zero consequences. Going into a jail facility and haphazardly registering people to vote is reprehensible. To do that without accurate information about the law or the most current voter registration application should be criminal. This is another example of returning citizens trusting the system to do right by them and then stabbing them in the back.”
Rivers’ criminal history
Including this case, Rivers has six felony convictions (one violent) and four misdemeanor convictions (one violent). He has served one state prison sentence for grand theft and was released in January 2021. He has a pending misdemeanor case for driving without a valid license, second or subsequent offense, following an October 2022 arrest.
In Alachua County, Rivers still owes $1,223 in a 2020 case and $878 in a 2018 case; he also owes a little over $2,800 in restitution from a 2018 Levy County case in which he collected money for a service but never provided the service.
Rivers is the eighth convicted felon to be sentenced for voter fraud charges
Dedrick Baldwin and Therris Conney were sentenced to 364 days in July 2022, Daniel Roberts was sentenced in June to three years in state prison, and Arthur Lang was sentenced to 18 months in state prison a few days later, all on similar charges. Henry Shuler was sentenced to one year and seven days in August 2022. Xavier Artis was sentenced to 13 months in prison on February 14, 2023. All of these defendants except Lang are serving the sentences concurrent with their previous sentences; Lang’s sentence extended his release date by eight months.
Two defendants still have open cases:
- Kelvin Bolton is out on bail and is awaiting trial;
- Christopher T. Wiggins is in the Alachua County Jail awaiting trial.
Trials rise and fall on what is said before the jury. The registration form mentioned was later removed from usage by the Division of Elections. The current form is from before Amendment 4. Lots of self-righteous chest pounding.
So when did we get to charge Supervisor of Elections Kim Barton, or at the very least fire her, for pulling this stunt of holding a voter registration at the jail??? Trust me she does not care one iota about these inmates or their civic duties. What she does care about is the fact that many of these are criminals and poor and people of a certain race, and people of these persuasions tend to vote overwhelming Democrat. Get rid of this woman, preferably before we have to elect her out of office.
Voter registration drives are permitted in jails. People who are not convicted felons have a right to vote.
Multiply this by the millions around the country and NOT investigated by woke Blue states and prosecutors elsewhere. That’s how 2020 was STOLEN. 👹🤡🤬🍦🍦🍦🍦
Since the time this story originally broke, Kim Barton should have been placed on unpaid administrative leave while it was being investigated. As the Supervisor of Elections, she knew or should have known that what she sent an employee to do was illegal. She and her employee should be charged and tried for their crimes. Kim Barton should resign or be removed from office. Gainesville and Alachua County are overrun with officials in high places that are not qualified or capable of performing their duties. You have a sheriff who has two sons with criminal records. If he was unable to oversee the upbringing of his own children, how did anyone think he would be able to properly oversee the management of the sheriff’s office? With the dysfunctional city and county governing bodies, you have a community in total chaos. Not to mention the State’s Attorney’s office and the judicial system. Instead of just taking over control of GRU, perhaps it is time for the State to take over control of all phases of governance in Gainesville and Alachua County.
Well stated Fran
As the prior message from JeffK stated. “ Multiply this by the millions around the country and NOT investigated by woke Blue states and prosecutors elsewhere. That’s how 2020 was STOLEN.”
There’s a deep underbelly of deceit and corruption in our society now.
Never give up! Vote them out!
When will the state attorneys office file charges against Kim Barton?
Restoring the right to vote for felons was overwhelmingly approved by Florida voters by a passed constitutional amendment on the ballot. The state GOP couldn’t let the will of the people undermine their partisan attempt to limit voting by demographic groups (yeah, black people) and so passed a law adding a requirement that all fees and fines must be paid by these felons or be found guilty of fraud. They passed on having the state clearly list what these fees and funds were, though that was within their power to provide. This puts these felons in the position of having to hire a lawyer to confirm what they owed in order to vote, thus effectively wiping out this right to vote for most of them, along with the will of Florida voters who overwhelmingly approved the restoration of this right. This is the kind of scumbags who now rule the state GOP and the state.
When are we going to have an investigation of Sen Perry’s dirty campaign against Dr Enneking, when he took $200k from FPL illegally to run a stealth candidate and barely squeak out a win. Lock him up!
There’s an awful lot of wealthy Democrats. Maybe you can convince them to ante up for the legal fees if needed or at least the amounts owed if required. Pretty sure there’s plenty of wealth to take care of their needs.
Sounds like crimes were committed by the Supervisor of Elections and her cronies!!
Not everyone in the Alachua County jail is a felon.
Unless you are a convicted felon you have a right to vote..there was nothing illegal or wrong about a voter drive at the jail except some people….who were not able to vote registered and voted.
The issue here is the Florida State Department of State and FDLE determine felon status…not our local supervisor of elections.
Go read the laws for yourself.
Indeed, and the law they are being charged with breaking was written to circumvent the will of Florida voters and make it difficult and expensive to even determine what fine they might owe.
There are a lot of ignorant people in jail, Jazzman. My bet is these people didn’t even know they had committed a crime by registering.