/ Modified jun 14, 2023 11:53 a.m.

Former Constable Candidate Indicted by AZ Attorney General for Fraud

The Huachuca City resident faces nine felony charges

Elections Ballots AP An election worker gathers tabulated ballots to be boxed inside the Maricopa County Recorders Office, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, in Phoenix.
AP Photo/Matt York

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes announced that a state grand jury has indicted a Cochise County resident on criminal charges that include Presentment of a False Instrument for Filing, Signing of Petitions Violations, and Fraudulent Schemes and Practices in order to be eligible for candidacy in the 2022 election.

Brent Thomas Kusama of Huachuca City filed his statement of intent to run for Constable in Precinct 5 of Cochise County on June 17, 2021. The grand jury accused Kusama of using nomination petitions that had falsified signatures on them in order to qualify to run in the 2022 election. The jury alleges these fraudulent actions occurred between July 2021 and April 2022.

The indictment, which was handed down by the grand jury on April 17, 2023, contains nine felony counts against Kusama. He’s charged with one count of Fraudulent Schemes and Practices, which has a sentence of up to two-and-a-half years and a fine of $150,000. The eight Presentment of a False Instrument charges, carry an up to two-year sentence each. If convicted, Kusama could face close to 20 years behind bars.

Kusama is alleged to have completed verifications on the back of eight petitions while being aware that the petitions had false or forged information about the electors on the front side of the petitions on March 28, 2022.

The indictment lists two counts of Signing Petitions Violation, in which, Kusama is accused of “knowingly signed any name other than his own to a nomination petition,” signing the name “John Hinkey.” Both of these counts are Class 1 Misdemeanors, which carry a sentence of up to six months each.

But Kusama’s name never made the ballot. According to reporting by the Herald/Review, he withdrew his candidacy in April of 2022 after 194 of the 263 signatures he gathered were challenged by his opponent, Republican Melissa Wirthlin. Wirthlin was the only candidate for Constable in Precinct 5 in the 2022 general election and won the seat with 76.7% of the vote.

Kusama has an initial court date of July 7 at the Cochise County Superior Court.

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