LAKE FOREST â€” Former Lake County Coroner Dr. Thomas A. Rudd of Lake Forest was indicted on five counts of perjury. He is accused of Â falsely swearing he witnessed people sign his re-election nominating petitions for the 2016 Democratic primary.
Rudd was indicted by the Lake County Grand Jury February 15 in Waukegan from allegations arising out of circumstances surrounding his aborted effort to become the Democratic Party nominee for in the 2016 election, according to the indictment.
The charges arise from objections to Ruddâ€™s nominating petitions filed in November 2015, according to the indictment, which alleges Rudd swore under oath on five of his petitions he witnessed the signatories write their name.
Rudd admitted in December 2015 Â he did not witness the actual signatures and withdrew from the Democratic primary, he saidÂ in a Jan. 12, 2016Â DailyNorthShore.com story. At the time he said was going to run as an independent.
When Ruddâ€™s petitions to appear on the ballot as an independent were successfully challenged, he mounted a write-in campaign, according to an October 6 DNS article. He lost.
Though the indictment was handed up by the grand jury Feb. 15, Christopher Covelli, the public information officer for criminal investigations in the Lake County Sheriffâ€™s department, said the investigation is ongoing and there could be more charges against others.
All five counts are Class 3 felonies, which carry a term of two to five years in prison, according to Covelli. He made his statement at a news conference Feb. 15 at the Lake County Sheriffâ€™s Office in Waukegan called to announce the charges.
Brian Towne, a special prosecutor in the case working for the Illinois Appellate Prosecutorâ€™s Office, said his office asked for the five felony charges because of the importance of securing the integrity of the electoral process.
â€śWe live in an environment where elections are strongly contested and strict scrutiny is needed to secure the electoral process,â€ť said Towne during the news conference. â€śThatâ€™s why Iâ€™m here as a special prosecutor. This was a re-election campaign and heâ€™s been through this process before.â€ť
Covelli said potential conflicts of interest caused the sheriffâ€™s department to bring the appellate prosecutorâ€™s office into the case. He declined to elaborate on the statement.
During the course of the investigation, Towne said he came to believe some of the people signing the petitions were dead for more than 10 years and others did not actually sign them.
â€śWe reviewed thousands and thousands of documents,â€ť said Towne. â€śWe talked to people whose signatures appeared on the petitions and they said it was not their signature on the page.â€ť
Lake County Undersheriff Raymond Rose said the ongoing investigation could include charges against current and former employees of the coronerâ€™s office. He declined to elaborate.
Rudd is scheduled to surrender to the Lake County Sheriffâ€™s Office when he appears in bond court Feb. 16 at Lake County Criminal Court in Waukegan. He did not return calls to DNS for a comment.