(Eastover) - The mayor of Eastover issued a statement late Thursday defending himself against an indictment for election fraud.
Here is the statement from Eastover mayor Christopher Campbell:
"My friends, neighbors, and to the citizens of Eastover, I stand here before you this evening to say that I am hurt and disappointed by the state of affairs surrounding the indictment that has been directed at me, and my mayoral administration, by the Grand Jury of the State of South Carolina and the Attorney General."
"Today the Grand Jury handed down an indictment against me on charges of election fraud. As a result of this indictment, The Honorable Cleveland Wilson, Jr. Mayor Pro-Tem, will serve as the Mayor of Eastover until these charges have been resolved."
"The indictment includes the following allegations: conspiracy; illegal conduct at elections; intimidation of a witness; common law obstruction of justice; and common law misconduct in office."
"Each and every charge is false. Further, we believe that the allegations come from unreliable sources suspected of self-serving agendas. Some of my accusers are known criminals. All of us have seen many cases where African-Americans have been wrongly and falsely accused. This is yet another example of the same."
"My fellow citizens, let us not forget that we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. Because we live in America, and this is the year of 2007, we trust that the legal system will act swiftly, fairly, and will be just. The one saving grace in this whole episode is that the judicial system gives the accused a day in court, and I am looking forward to this day and the opportunity to clear my good name. My attorney, John Delgado, and I plan to fight each charge, vigorously."
"Let me take this opportunity to remind you that for the past 14 years, I have dedicated my life to serving the wonderful citizens of the Town of Eastover. I have served you as a member of Town Council for six years, and more recently, as your Mayor for the past eight years. I have served faithfully on numerous other local, State and National Boards. My services to this town, the State of South Carolina, and to this Country have been exemplary."
"Under my administration, Eastover has shown great growth and development. The Town has received millions of dollars in grants and other funds resulting in better town services which you enjoy every day."
"I have been wounded--but I am no ways tired. Though daggers and pop-shots have been aimed at me, I continue to keep my head held high--I have not bowed in shame. My character has been violated; but, my friends and colleagues, let me assure you that I am not guilty of these charges and accusations."
"To my friends who have joined me here this evening, I say think you for your continued support."
"I ask you for your prayers. And in the end, we are confident that I, and those associated with me, will be exonerated."