Three codefendants of former Bradford City mayoral candidate Slim Lewis were arraigned Friday on allegations they forged signatures on election nomination petitions for him.
Meanwhile, an arraignment for Lewis himself has been postponed from Friday until May 31.
According to court records, Bradford residents Josef D. Godfrey, 29, Nikki L. Elliott, 23, and Lena Lewis, 26, were arraigned Friday before District Judge Richard Luther.
All four face misdemeanor counts of forgery-unauthorized act in writing, forgery-utters forged writing and tampering with records, all first-degree misdemeanors; and false signatures/statements, misdemeanors.
Additionally, Slim Lewis and Godfrey face charges of unsworn falsification to authorities and unsworn falsification to authorities-forged-altered document, second-degree misdemeanors.
Lewis had filed to run on the Democratic ticket for the position of Bradford City mayor, but he withdrew his name in March amid forgery allegations. Charges were formally filed earlier this month. Had Lewis won the seat, he would have been prohibited from serving, as Lewis is a convicted felon and Pennsylvania law prohibits convicted felons from holding office.
According to the criminal complaints, law enforcement officials were notified of allegations that signatures had been forged on Lewis’s election petitions. When McKean County Detective Linda Close contacted people whose names appeared on the petitions, many said they did not sign them.
During interviews with the Lewises, Godfrey and Elliott, they admitted that all four forged signatures on the petitions, court records stated.
Slim Lewis and Godfrey face the additional charges because both men circulated petitions that were sworn in front of a licensed notary from the McKean County election office. When they were sworn in, the men stated they had not knowingly violated any election laws, which included stating that the signers of the petition provided signatures with full knowledge of the petition’s contents, according to court records.
Slim Lewis is accused of forging at least 17 signatures; Godfrey, at least 10; Elliott, at least nine and Lena Lewis, at least seven, the complaints state.
All three are free, Lena Lewis and Nikki Elliott on $30,000 unsecured bail each, and Godfrey on $40,000 unsecured bail. They have McKean County Central Court appearances set for Thursday.
Slim Lewis is scheduled for arraignment at 10 a.m. May 31 before Luther.
Attorneys are not listed on court records for any of the four.