McCrae Dowless, political operative at center of NC-9 scandal, pleads not guilty

Dowless rejects plea deal, will stand trial next August
EXCLUSIVE: McCrae Dowless, key to NC-9 election fraud case, speaks after release from jail
EXCLUSIVE: McCrae Dowless, key to NC-9 election fraud case, speaks after release from jail
Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 11:41 AM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - McCrae Dowless, the political operative at the center of the 9th Congressional District scandal in 2018, pleaded not guilty to charges related to election fraud in Wake County court on Monday.

Dowless was indicted on charges related to the 2016 election in late February 2019. He was indicted a second time on charges related to the 2018 election in June 2019.

On Monday, Dowless appeared in court for the first time in more than two years. He pleaded not guilty, rejecting a plea deal from prosecutors.

Previous: McCrae Dowless, associates face new charges in NC-9 election fraud investigation

His trial is currently scheduled to start in late August 2022.

Separately, Dowless is scheduled to begin serving a six month prison sentence next month on federal social security disability fraud charges.

Dowless pleaded guilty to those charges, stemming from his failure to report income he made working for Mark Harris’ congressional campaign in 2018 while collecting disability benefits, in June.

Full Coverage: Read all of WBTV’s coverage of the NC-9 scandal here

After his first arrest in February 2019, Dowless spoke exclusively with WBTV in a brief interview after he left jail.

“The truth will prevail on it all,” Dowless said at the time.

For years, Dowless has spoken exclusively with WBTV’s Chief Investigative Reporter Nick Ochsner about the 9th Congressional District scandal, his criminal charges and other aspects of his life.

Ochsner has a new book out tomorrow, called The Vote Collectors: The True Story of the Scamsters, Politicians, and Preachers behind the Nation’s Greatest Electoral Fraud, with Michael Graff detailing the 9th Congressional District scandal and connecting what happened to the larger history of race and politics in southeastern North Carolina.

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