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Judge agrees to dismiss charge against Gasperini after one year

South Boston News
Joe Gasperini
SoVaNow.com / September 25, 2021
A circuit judge has agreed to dismiss an elected-related felony charge against former Halifax School Board Chairman Joe Gasperini in one year after Gasperini offered a plea of no contest this week.

As part of an agreement with the court, Gasperini will complete 30 hours of community service and pay court costs in the case by Sept. 1, 2022. He also agreed not to run for any political office for five years.

In a hearing held Thursday in Farmville, Circuit Judge Donald Blessing signed off on an order to conclude the case, which arose when Gasperini was indicted in January 2021 on a single felony count of making a false statement on a required election form. The charge involved Gasperini’s reliance on third parties to submit petition signatures on his behalf when Gasperini qualified to run for re-election to the School Board in 2019.

To be included on the ballot, local candidates are required to submit at least 125 voter signatures supporting their intent to run for office. At the time they submit the signatures, candidates are required to swear that they personally witnessed each constituent signing their names to the petition.

The case against Gasperini involved surrogates who submitted petition signatures which Gasperini did not personally witness. If a surrogate such as a family member, friend or campaign worker collects the petition signatures, that person is separately required to swear that they witnessed the signings. Gasperini represented to a notary public that he had done so.

Gasperini and volunteers with his campaign submitted more than enough petition signatures to meet the requirements to get on the ballot. Before he completed the race, however, Gasperini pulled out and resigned his ED-4 seat on the School Board on Aug. 12, 2019.

Gasperini, who was chairman at the time, said he quit due to pressure from unnamed individuals who wanted him to stop speaking out in favor of construction of a new high school.

Jay Camp, who had also qualified in 2019 to run for the ED-4 seat in that year’s November election, was the lone candidate listed on the ballot after Gasperini’s withdrawal. He won without opposition.

By pleading no contest, Gasperini acknowledged the facts of the case and agreed to accept the decision of the judge on how it would be handled. Gasperini was represented by Lynchburg attorney Charles Felmlee.

Reached for comment Friday, Gasperini said he was satisfied with the outcome of the case, with the ultimate dismissal of the felony charge against him, and happy to have the matter behind him.

“I’m glad the charge against me is going to be dismissed, I’m just sorry it happened in the first place,” he said.

He called the judge’s order “a fair agreement” and said he consented to the requirement that he not run for public office in the next five years because he was already sour on the idea of ever doing so.

“After this experience I wasn’t going to run again for public office anyway,” he said.

Making a false statement on a required election form is a Class 5 felony punishable by jail time and fines. In Blessing’s order, the dismissal of the charge is conditioned on Gasperini’s good behavior for 12 months from today’s date, payment of all court costs no later than Sept. 1, 2022, 30 hours of community service and the pledge not to run for office for five years.

The hearing to conclude the matter was heard in Prince Edward Circuit Court in Farmville, due to schedule of Blessing and other parties. It was brought in Halifax County Circuit Court and prosecuted by Appomattox County Commonwealth's Attorney Leslie "Les" Fleet, who was appointed special prosecutor by the court. Virginia State Police Special Agent R.B. Brooke gathered evidence in the probe.

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Comments

He's a bonafide member of the good ole boys club.If his charges disappear after 1 year, then so should everybody else's. This is wrong on all levels. White Privilege at its finest !!!!

Comments

Another REPUBLICAN???

Comments

He’s not a Republican, he’s a RINO. The Democrats can have this looser. He sucks and always has!! Should be behind bars.


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