Former Canton School Board member Courtney Rainey was sentenced to more than a decade in prison for intimidating witnesses in the Canton voter fraud investigation stemming from the 2017 municipal elections.

Circuit Judge Dewey Arthur on Monday sentenced the former city employee and School Board member to 15 years behind bars, with three suspended.

Rainey was convicted in a July 30 jury trial.

 




“Witness intimidation is an extremely serious felony,” District Attorney John Bramlett said. “It strikes at the very heart of our system of justice. We completely support Judge Arthur’s sentence, and hope this sends a clear message that witness intimidation simply will not be tolerated in Madison and Rankin counties.”

Earlier this month, the Madison County Election Commission voted that she could not appear on the November general election ballot as an independent candidate for Madison County Justice Court Judge due to disenfranchising crimes. 

The resolution of Rainey’s case is just the latest in an investigation that produced charges against 12 different people in the 2017 municipal elections.

Canton Alderman Vickie McNeil had four counts of voter fraud dropped after she agreed to step down from her position.

She was the second Canton alderman to lose her position following the investigation. The other, Ward 7 Alderman Andrew Grant, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit voter fraud and received a suspended prison sentence of five years.

In June, Valerie Smith, the former Canton City Clerk, pleaded guilty to one count of violation of voter registration. 

She was originally indicted on 12 counts of violating voter registration statutes back in February for allegedly falsifying voter registration applications and received one year supervised probation.

Donnell Robinson was indicted on one count of voter fraud for voting as an unqualified person. He pleaded guilty in June to the charge as a misdemeanor and received a one year suspended jail sentence with six months probation. 

Desmand King, deputy City Clerk, was indicted in December 2018 on two counts of voter fraud. His case was dismissed. 

Sherman Matlock was indicted on charges of voting as an unqualified person because of a previous manslaughter conviction. 

The DA’s office said Matlock should never have been charged because the manslaughter conviction was not a disqualifying offense. 

Former Canton Fire Chief Cary Johnson and Jennifer Robinson, both indicted on voter fraud, were entered into the DA’s pre-trial diversion program in lieu of trial.