|By Chris Maza
Reminder Publications file photo
SPRINGFIELD – Courtney Llewellyn, wife and alleged co-conspirator of convicted former East Longmeadow Selectman Enrico “Jack” Villamaino, will enter a guilty plea for her part in a voter fraud scheme next week.
Llewellyn was due in court for a final pretrial conference on Aug. 28. However, a representative from the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office told Reminder Publications that the case was continued because a plea was in the works and later confirmed a new court date was agreed upon.
“Courtney Llewellyn’s case was continued to Sept. 5, at which time she will enter a plea,” Angie Rodriguez of the District Attorney’s Office, said.
The plea hearing will take place at 2 p.m.
Llewellyn originally pleaded not guilty to 58 counts, including attempt to illegally vote absentee, forgery, perjury, conspiracy to commit illegal voting, conspiracy to commit an absentee voting violation, interfering with election officials, and larceny.
Villamaino pleaded guilty to 11 charges, including felony counts for perjury, forgery and conspiracy, on Aug. 5. On Aug. 7, he was sentenced by Judge Mary-Lou Rup to a 12-month split sentence. He is currently serving a four-month jail sentence at the Hampden County House of Corrections with the remaining eight months of his sentence suspended. He was also sentenced to a year of probation and his record will reflect felony convictions.
District Attorney Mark Mastroianni said during Villamaino’s plea proceedings that Villamaino was the “mastermind” behind the scheme and Llewellyn’s actions were performed at his direction.
Mastroianni had previously stated in court that she and Villamaino changed the voter registration statuses of more than 280 registered Democrats to unenrolled with the intention of taking out absentee ballots in their names and returning those ballots with votes for Villamaino in his GOP primary race against Longmeadow Selectman Marie Angelides for state representative of the Second Hampden District.
Villamaino had previously lost to Angelides by approximately 280 votes in the September 2010 Republican primary for the same position.
The execution of the plot, according to Mastroianni, included Villamaino getting Llewellyn – already a town employee with East Longmeadow Cable Access Television – a position in the Town Clerk’s Office and training her to use the password-protected statewide database used for voter registration. On two separate occasions in June 2012 they entered the Clerk’s Office after working hours to change voter registrations, he added.
Mastroianni also alleged that on July 20, Llewellyn brought the falsified absentee ballot requests into the Clerks’ Office for processing. While she told co-workers a man dropped them off, Mastroianni said the video surveillance tapes for that day showed no one going to the Clerk’s Office counter with a sizable number of documents. Instead, Llewellyn was seen on the tape carrying a bulky bag into the office and later handling the documents.
The Commonwealth’s case also states that forensic handwriting analysis confirmed that the absentee ballot requests were signed illegally by Villamaino and Llewellyn, resulting in the forgery and perjury charges.
During the course of the investigation, Llewellyn and Villamaino married, which Mastroianni alleged in court and to the media was a “sham” and a legal ploy in order to prevent law enforcement from compelling them to testify against one another. He added that witnesses said Villamaino told them he was marrying Llewellyn because she “held the key to his jail cell.”
During the investigation, Llewellyn was placed on administrative leave with pay by the Board of Selectmen. Shortly after her arrest on Oct. 16, she was suspended without pay.
East Longmeadow Board of Selectmen Chair Paul Federici confirmed she was still on leave without pay, adding, “I’m glad this will soon be behind us.”
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