Former Aid To GOP Congressman Charged With Vote Fraud

A worker in the 2004 election campaign of Representative Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., has been charged with election fraud. But McHenry says the charge was politically motivated.

A Gaston County grand jury last week charged 26-year-old Michael Aaron Lay of Pioneer, Tennessee, with illegally casting his ballot in two 2004 congressional primary runoffs.

The indictment said Lay's official address was in Tennessee but he used the address on McHenry-owned property to vote. Lay wouldn't comment on the charge but says he is worried that it might prevent him from taking the North Carolina bar exam.

Lay lives in Raleigh and plans to practice civil and commercial law. Lay's attorney is Thomas Goolsby and says his client is innocent.

McHenry, who was re-elected last year, said Lay was a law-abiding citizen who would be found innocent.