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Benton Harbor — A Michigan man who was found guilty of fraud in a Benton Harbor mayoral recall election has been sentenced to 2½ to 10 years in prison.

A jury in November convicted Edward Pinkney of five felony counts. The Benton Township man was accused of changing dates on petitions used to gather signatures in the planned recall election of Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower.

Pinkney says he did “nothing wrong.” He was found not guilty of six misdemeanor counts for letting individuals sign petitions more than once.

During his trial, Pinkney and three other witnesses testified that another person made all the illegal changes to the petitions.

Pinkney says he was “very disappointed” in the jury and the system that found him guilty. After Monday’s sentencing, dozens of people held a protest.

The Michigan Court of Appeals in September ordered the recall election be taken off the Nov. 4 ballot.

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