The lawyer who prosecuted State Rep. David Cole (R-Madison) during an election contest earlier this year told 1819 News that Cole's arrest on Tuesday stemmed from under-oath testimony he gave during a deposition in May related to his voter registration.

Cole was charged with voter fraud Tuesday related to long-standing complaints about the 2022 election.

Earlier this year, Cole's residency was questioned by his Libertarian election opponent Elijah Boyd, who alleged that Cole claimed a residence in District 10 when he declared for the race, while tax documents showed his residence was in District 4.

RELATED: State Rep. Cole asks for delay days before State House deposition in election lawsuit

Cole won the House District 10 seat with 51.6% of the vote in the general election. Marilyn Lands, a Democrat, received 45%, and Boyd won 3.4%.

Boyd filed a complaint for contesting the election in Madison County Circuit Court on November 22, alleging Cole wasn't eligible under state law to serve as State Representative for House District 10 due to him not being a resident of the district and him not being a resident of the district for one year prior to the general election on November 8.

According to Barry Ragsdale, the attorney who represented Boyd, Cole's arrest is indirectly related to the election lawsuit.

Cole used a Huntsville address on Conservancy Drive, in District 10, when he filed for election. However, tax records showed that Cole resided in a home on Cedar Springs Place in District 4. This was the point of contention during his deposition at the state house in May.

"What we were prosecuting against [Cole] was an election contest, which was challenging his eligibility to serve in the legislature and really doesn't have criminal implications, usually," Ragsdale said. "But, in this case, he, under oath, continued to tell the story that he told before about pretending to have another residence. And that sworn testimony, and frankly the press coverage that came out of that, got the attention of the attorney general's office. They looked into it and obviously concluded that he had committed crimes in the course of trying to lie about his residency for the purposes of running for office."

Cole argued during his deposition that he owned a home in District 4 but had already made a house in District 10 his permanent residence, despite his wife and children still living in District 4. According to Ragsdale, Cole changed his voter registration to District 10 despite residing in District 4.  

"I don't know what the attorney general concluded, but what really got, I think, Mr. Cole in trouble is he changed his voter registration in an effort to kind of bolster his claim that he had moved," he said, "When he changed his voter registration, he was then voting in District 10, and that meant he was voting in a district he didn't live in. And I think it was pretty apparent when we took his deposition and gathered his tax documents that he had never moved out of his original house and never moved into his new house. Now, that creates issues for him from an election standpoint and an eligibility for office standpoint. But when he went so far as to change and falsify his voter registration, then he committed a felony."

Ragsdale continued, "I will tell you, when we started prosecuting the case against him, it was apparent to us that he thought he was just going to get away with it," Ragsdale continued. "And, frankly, he would have gotten away with it if the attorney general's office had not taken an interest in the criminal aspect of it. Because it looked like the House of Representatives was not going to take up the election contest, or at least had not indicated that he was going to. And, if they didn't take it up, he could have continued to serve and never would have had the problems he has right now."

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