DES MOINES, Iowa — The former campaign manager in Theresa Greenfield’s 2018 Congressional campaign appeared in court Thursday for a sentencing hearing, but the judge decided to send his case to trial.
Noah Wasserman is charged with one felony count of election misconduct and 13 counts of tampering with records. He falsified a number of signatures in attempt to get Greenfield’s name on the 2018 primary ballot. After learning what happened, Greenfield withdrew the signatures and eventually dropped out of the race. She is currently running a separate campaign to unseat U.S. Senator Joni Ernst in the 2020 election.
In June, Wasserman pleaded guilty to one of the tampering counts, but the state never signed off on a plea deal. A Polk County prosecutor said this is unusual in her experience.
“I have’t experienced in my career where the defense attorney files a written petition to plead guilty to one county without any plea agreement,” Jaki Livingston, an assistant county attorney said.
During the hearing, Wasserman’s defense attorney, Mark Weinhardt, said his client wanted to be sentenced on the count he pleaded guilty for, but not for any of the others.
“We are going to seek a dismissal of the remaining counts because we think there are legal reasons that are problems with those counts,” Weinhardt said.
Weinhardt said they did not see any legal obstruction to sentencing Wasserman Thursday. He also said from a practical standpoint, it will be difficult to bring his client back to Iowa for further sentencing, as Wasserman lives in New Jersey.
“This isn’t a trick. We arranged this because we believe he is guilty of one criminal act and not guilty of all the rest,” Weinhardt said.
Livingston said she was skeptical about Weinhardt’s plan to dismiss the other counts Wasserman faces.
“He hasn’t filed that dismissal. I don’t know what he’s going to claim or what he’s going to allege,” she said. “We have filed 13 counts that we believe are sound and there’s adequate evidence and they were legally appropriate in filing.”
She said Wasserman’s defense had made no attempts to resolve any of the other counts and therefore, sentencing should continue.
“Legally, the court could in fact sentence him today,” Livingston said. “I think that makes no sense.”
The judge agreed with the state that sentencing Wasserman without a resolution on the other counts would be premature. He said he had a few concerns, one of them being that a sentence on Thursday would not be appropriate and would not stand on an appeal.
The judge set a trial for Jan. 13, 2020.