A New Jersey mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, Nicholas Beauchene, 26, admitted to discarding 99 election ballots and nearly 2,000 pieces of other mail on Thursday.
Beauchene pleaded guilty to one count of desertion of mail in a Newark federal court, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced.
He faces a maximum penalty of up $100,000 in fines and one year in prison. A sentencing trial has been scheduled for September 21, 2021.
Beauchene admitted to throwing out 1,875 pieces of mail into dumpsters in North Arlington, New Jersey, and West Orange, New Jersey, on Sept. 28, Oct. 1, and Oct. 2, 2020. Law enforcement recovered and returned them to the mail stream. They included: 627 pieces of first-class mail, 873 pieces of standard class mail, two pieces of certified mail, 99 general election ballots destined for residents in West Orange, and 276 campaign flyers from local candidates for West Orange Town Council and Board of Education.
According to local outlet NJ.com, after Beauchene's first appearance in federal court, assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin said the postal service carrier gave a statement admitting he discarded the mail, but the reasons were not politically motivated.
Beauchene's attorney also concurred that his client's actions were not politically motivated but declined to comment further.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the postal service received a flood of mail-in ballots. Former President Donald Trump for months touted that the 2020 election was "rigged." Trump lost the presidency to Joe Biden by roughly 7 million votes. According to a new Reuters-Ipsos poll published last week, 61 percent of Republicans strongly and somewhat agree that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
The sample of 2,007 adults age 18+ includes 909 Democrats, 754 Republicans and 196 Independents. Although statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls, this poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points for Democrats, plus or minus 4.1 percentage points for Republicans, and plus or minus 8.0 percentage points for independents.
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