NJ postal worker admits to discarding 99 election ballots, nearly 2,000 pieces of other mail

A U.S. Postal Service mail carrier from New Jersey on Thursday admitted to discarding 99 general election ballots and hundreds of other pieces of mail last fall. 

Nicholas Beauchene, 26, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of desertion of mails, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced in a statement.

He faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine when he is sentenced at a later date.

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Beauchene said he discarded 1,875 pieces of mail into dumpsters on the days of Sept. 28, Oct. 1 and Oct. 2. He was the postal worker assigned to deliver those batches of mail to customers in West Orange and Orange.

The mail dumps included 99 general election ballots, 627 pieces of first-class mail, 873 pieces of standard class mail and two pieces of certified mail. Law enforcement officials also recovered 276 campaign flyers for West Orange Town Council and Board of Education candidates.

The discarded mail was later placed back into the mail stream for delivery, authorities said.

During his first court appearance in October, assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin said there was no evidence at the time indicating that Beauchene’s actions were politically motivated, local outlet NJ.com reported. Beauchene’s attorney reportedly agreed it was not politically motivated, but declined to comment further.

Last year, the Postal Service received a flood of additional mail as thousands of Americans cast their ballots through the mail during the coronavirus pandemic.

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE has for months made exaggerated and inaccurate claims about mail-in voting regarding the 2020 election, claiming that the election was "rigged" and "fraudulent.”

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Trump lost to President BidenJoe Biden White House: US has donated 200 million COVID-19 vaccines around the world Police recommend charges against four over Sinema bathroom protest K Street revenues boom MORE last year by roughly 7 million votes nationally. 

However, experts have insisted that Trump’s claims are baseless and there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Most Republicans still believe Trump is the “true president,” according to a poll released on Tuesday. Even more — 61 percent — believe either strongly or somewhat that the 2020 election was “stolen” from the former president.

CORRECTION: Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin said there was no evidence Beauchene's actions were politically motivated. An earlier version of this story included incorrect information.