CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A Mecklenburg County grand jury has indicted former mayor Patrick Cannon on election fraud stemming from a vote Cannon cast last fall, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
According to the district attorney's office, the grand jury indicted Cannon for illegal voting Monday. As a convicted felon, Cannon is not allowed to vote.
He is accused of illegally casting an absentee ballot in October for the November general election.
"On Monday, a Mecklenburg County Grand Jury indicted Patrick Cannon for illegally voting pursuant to North Carolina General Statute § 163-275," the district attorney's office released in a statement. "The DA's Office made the decision to submit this matter to the Grand Jury after the State Board of Elections recently presented its investigation to prosecutors. Because this matter is a pending case, ethical obligations set out by the North Carolina State Bar prohibit the DA's Office from commenting further at this time."
WEB EXTRA: Click here to read the indictment
Cannon's attorney James Ferguson said his client was stunned with the latest allegations.
"He's asking the same questions. Why? He's explained it. He's been to court" Ferguson said.
Before starting his 44-month prison sentence, Cannon told Judge Frank Whitney he made a mistake.
"We had thought that would be the end of it. So it was a surprise that the state was pursuing an indictment and in fact got one," Ferguson said.
Cannon pleaded guilty to accepting more than $50,000 from undercover agents while serving as Charlotte's mayor and is currently serving his sentence at a federal prison in West Virginia.
In November, Cannon told a judge he did not realize he was breaking the law when he voted, saying "The light didn't come on that day."
His attorney worries about another trend.
"One in 13 African-Americans are deprived of the right to vote, because of felony disenfranchisement," Ferguson said.
Cannon is expected to be served with court papers at the West Virginia correctional facility where he is serving sentence
Local defense attorneys tell WBTV once that happens, he could be assigned a court date in Mecklenburg County. If he is, Ferguson says Cannon will come back to the area to face the court.