Diebold "whistleblower" faces criminal charges in California

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Saturday, March 4, 2006

Los Angeles County prosecutors have brought three felony charges against Stephen Heller for stealing documents from his employer, the law firm Jones Day.

The legal documents discussed the legal ramifications of activist allegations that Diebold Election Systems had used uncertified voting systems in Alameda County elections beginning in 2002. Jones Day represented the controversial electronic voting machine manufacturer at the time. The firm's lawyers concluded that if such uncertified systems were used, then Diebold could be sued by Alameda County for millions of dollars. The memos also discussed whether the California's secretary of state had the authority to investigate Diebold.

Mr. Heller has been charged with felony access to computer data, commercial burglary and receiving stolen property. He has pled not guilty.

Blair Berk, Heller's attorney said, "It's a devastating allegation for a whistle-blower. Certainly, someone who saw those documents could have reasonably believed that thousands of voters were going to be potentially disenfranchised in upcoming elections."

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