BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — An adjournment in contemplation of dismissal has been granted in the case against former Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant.
Grant, 74, was accused of harassment following a filmed incident at a voting site this past October. Her attorney pleaded ‘not guilty’ on her behalf this past December. An attempt had been made to have the charge dismissed, but Judge Andrew LoTempio denied it in January.
In addition to harassment, Grant was also charged with misdemeanor in relation to elections. That latter charge, which could have resulted in a year in jail pending a conviction, was dismissed by Judge Andrew LoTempio on Thursday.
This all comes after prosecutors say she harassed a voter and posted a video taken inside the Delavan Grider Community polling place on social media.
The Erie County District Attorney’s Office says Grant entered an occupied voting booth. While there, prosecutors say she watched the preparation of another voter’s ballot.
“It is further alleged that the defendant engaged in a course of conduct, with the intent to alarm or seriously annoy another person, by filming the individual who was submitting their ballot,” the District Attorney’s Office said.
Grant shared a video of what she claimed was “voter intimidation” on Facebook.
“The woman in the blue jacket is a private citizen who is being allowed by the polling inspectors to compromise the voting process,” Grant said. “Why is she being allowed to tell a voter who to vote for? Why is she having contact with voters if she is not voting or she has finished voting. Why is she still in the room? She does not work for the Board of Elections. This is voter intimidation!”
District Attorney John Flynn says that prior to when Grant began filming, an elderly woman and her son went to vote, but were having trouble figuring out what to do. So, he says, they asked another voter for help.
Flynn specified that the other voter did not offer help before she was asked by the elderly woman and her son. He says no crimes were committed by any of those voters.
Following the incident, the Office of the New York State Attorney General demanded “immediate” action by election officials. And so, the Erie County Board of Elections asked the District Attorney’s Office to investigate.
“It’s not the crime of the century,” Flynn says. But he continued to say that since there was a victim, his office prosecuted the matter.
“When I have a victim who was outraged by this, it’s a no-brainer,” Flynn said regarding the charge.
After the incident, Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner says Grant was issued a letter, telling her she’s not allowed to come within 100 feet of any polling sites.
The District Attorney’s Office offered a six-month adjournment in contemplation of dismissal to Grant, which was granted by Judge LoTempio on Thursday. Essentially, this means that if Grant avoids legal trouble for six months, the harassment charge will be dismissed. Grant is also required to continue community service and write a letter of apology to the victim and her family, the District Attorney’s Office told News 4.
Grant, a Democrat, served as an Erie County Legislator from 2007 to 2017, representing the county’s second and seventh districts.