Judge dismisses one charge against former Clay election commissioner

A federal judge has dismissed one part of the conviction of a former Clay County election commissioner found guilty in a vote-buying conspiracy.

Charles Wayne Jones' other convictions still stand.

Jones, a Democrat, was among eight Clay County residents convicted in March of conspiring to buy or steal votes on a wide scale in the 2002, '04 and '06 local elections.

One count against Jones and William Stivers, who also had been an election officer, alleged that they tried to extort $1,000 from a candidate for city council in 2006 to use in buying votes.

However, there was insufficient evidence that Jones' attempts to get the money were based on an agreement for him to use his official position to help the candidate, U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves ruled Wednesday.

Reeves dismissed the same charge against Stivers earlier.

The others convicted in the case include former Circuit Judge R. Cletus Maricle; former schools Superintendent Doug Adams; former county Clerk Freddy W. Thompson; and former Magistrate Stanley Bowling.

All the defendants are challenging their convictions and have not been sentenced.

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