Rochester, N.Y. mayor Lovely Warren has been indicted on charges she broke campaign finance rules and committed fraud during her 2017 reelection campaign, the Monroe County District Attorney announced Friday.

One charge is for a scheme to defraud in the first degree, while another is an election law offense for illegally coordinating activities and expenditures, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

The Democrat’s campaign treasurer, Albert Jones Jr., and the treasurer of her political action committee, Rosalind Brooks-Harris, face charges as well, district attorney Sandra Doorley said.

A State Board of Elections probe had previously found that there was “considerable evidence” that Warren, her associates, and a political action committee supporting her campaign had worked to purposely evade campaign donation limits.

Warren, the first female mayor of Rochester, has previously denied the allegations, calling the investigation a “political witch hunt.” 

If convicted, Warren would be removed from office under state law and could face a maximum sentence of 16 months to four years in prison, though she is unlikely to be incarcerated. Her pension and law license could both be forfeited if the alleged scheme is found to be a crime related to public office.

Halfway through her second term, Warren has already been met with growing calls to resign over the city’s handling of the death of Daniel Prude, a black man who died of suffocation in March after police reportedly placed a “spit hood” over his head and pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes.

Critics have accused police and city officials of covering up the circumstances of Prude’s death, with the case attracting renewed attention last month when Prude’s family released body-camera video of the incident. 

The Mayor had claimed she was unaware the medical examiner had ruled the death a homicide until August 4, when

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has been indicted on two felony campaign finance charges, Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley announced Friday. 



a close up of Lovely Warren wearing a red shirt: Lovely Warren is mayor of Rochester, N.Y.


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Lovely Warren is mayor of Rochester, N.Y.

The first charge is for first-degree scheme to defraud; the second is an election law offense for illegally coordinating activities and expenditures.

The grand jury indictment is connected to Warren’s 2017 mayoral re-election campaign. Warren has adamantly refused any wrongdoing in the matter.

Warren will be arraigned at 4 p.m. Oct. 5 in front of Cayuga County Judge Thomas Leone. She did not provide immediate comment Friday.

If convicted of the felony charges, Warren would be removed from office under state law. The maximum sentence would be 16 months to four years in prison. While Warren would be unlikely to be incarcerated, her pension could be forfeited if the matter is determined to be a crime related to public office, and she also could lose her law license.

The announcement of criminal charges is not a conviction but adds another major crisis for the already embattled mayor. Her term ends next year.

Warren has faced increasing questions in the last month about her honesty with her claims that she was not informed by her staff until August of all of the facts surrounding the death of Daniel Prude, who was asphyxiated by police as he was restrained.

Campaign finance regulations are, however, a very different matter than the alleged homicide of an unarmed citizen, and County Legislator Rachel Barnhart has said she worries that the public will be slow to digest the occasionally arcane and dry topic and criminal allegations.

Barnhart raised the possible violations in her unsuccessful 2017 mayoral race against Warren. She and another Democratic primary challenger, former Police Chief James Sheppard, filed complaints

Rochester, N.Y., Mayor Lovely Warren, was indicted Friday on two felony campaign finance charges.

The charges stem from Warren’s re-election campaign three years ago, according to the indictment, which also charges two associates, The New York Times reported.

The indictment accuses Warren, a Democrat, of “knowingly and willfully” attempting to evade contribution limits while engaging in “a systemic and ongoing course of conduct with the intent to defraud more than one person.”

The investigation into Warren’s finances has been underway since two candidates who ran against her in 2017 issued complaints to the state Board of Elections.

Warren has denied any wrongdoing and previously called the investigation a “political witch hunt.” If convicted, she would be removed from office.

Warren is the first female and second African-American mayor of Rochester, home to around 200,000 people in Western New York.

She is slated for arraignment Monday afternoon along with her co-defendants, Albert Jones Jr., her campaign’s treasurer, and Rosiland Brooks Harris, its finance director.

The indictment comes as the city battles another crisis over the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died of suffocation after police arrested him in March.

Rochester experienced unrest last month as demonstrations unfolded in parts of the city against police brutality and racial justice.

His death did not go public until his family released body-cam footage of the arrest in September.

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Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren speaks at a press conference in September. | Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has been indicted on felony charges relating to her fundraising, Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley announced on Friday.

The indictments stem from Warren’s fundraising activity while seeking a second term in 2017.

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Donations to the mayor’s regular campaign were capped at less than $9,000. She also had a leadership PAC subject to much looser fundraising rules, but which was prohibited from directly helping her reelection efforts. Several complaints at the time alleged that this entity was in fact dedicated solely to aiding her candidacy.

Warren is arguably the highest-profile elected official in the state to be indicted on campaign finance violations in recent years.

The investigation into her activity was launched by state Board of Elections Enforcement Counsel Risa Sugarman. Her work has previously led to a criminal referral against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was accused of a different plot to circumvent contribution limits by using multiple campaign accounts.

The referral against de Blasio never led to charges, however, after Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s office concluded it would be too difficult to prove the mayor’s actions were motivated by “criminal intent” rather than a misunderstanding of the complicated election laws. That hurdle is one of the reasons why campaign finance cases are relatively rare in New York.

Warren, who has dubbed the investigation a “witch hunt,” has said in the past that any improper activity by the PAC was due to bookkeeping errors.

But Doorley said on Friday that she’s confident her office can prove the PAC’s activities are “a scheme to defraud.”

The indictment comes in the midst of a tumultuous season for Warren and New York’s third-most-populous city.