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SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2007
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Crowd gathers to support women facing fraud charges

GREENSBORO (AP) — Two women pleaded not guilty to voter fraud charges in Hale County during a hearing that drew more than 200 supporters.

The crowd applauded Friday as Rosie Lyles and Valada Paige Banks entered their pleas.

Outside the courthouse, many held hands in a circle, where they sang and prayed Saturday. About half wore shirts that read “Greensboro 2: Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere.”

A Hale County grand jury indicted Banks, 44, and Lyles, 67, in August. They were charged with second-degree possession of a forged instrument — an absentee voter affidavit — with the knowledge that it was forged and four counts of promoting illegal absentee voting.

Second-degree possession of a forged instrument is punishable by one to 10 years in prison and a fine of up $5,000. Promoting illegal absentee voting is punishable by one to two years in prison and a fine between $500 and $2,000.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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