Prosecutor explains dropped charges in Altavista election probe

Altavista town hall (Altavista)

ALTAVISTA, Va. (WSET) - Lynchburg Commonwealth Attorney Mike Doucette says he charged Michele Brumfield and James Higginbotham because he wanted them to admit they were wrong.

The two were arrested in March for campaigning too close to a polling place.

Doucette was brought in as a special prosecutor for the case.

Doucette said in a statement:

The charges against Mr. Higginbotham and Ms. Brumfield were brought to hold them accountable to the citizens of Altavista for their behavior during the 2016 election. I was not interested in jailing them or even fining them; just getting them to acknowledge they were in the wrong.

He says both Brumfield and Higginbotham wrote an open letter to the community that was published in the Altavista Journal on April 26.

After the letter was published, Doucette says he moved to drop the charges.

"Any other repercussions will be in the hands of the electorate next time around," he said.

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