JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Courtney Rainey has been sentenced to 15 years with three years suspended in prison for witness intimidation in the Canton voter fraud case.
She was also given five years of supervised probation upon release. Her attorney plans to appeal.
Judge Arthur says there is a key difference between Rainey and others who have pleaded guilty in the Canton voter fraud case.
“All the other people charged accepted responsibility," said Judge Authur. "None of those people were charged with witness intimidation. Additionally, this court had Andrew Grant stand in front of it and say, ‘I acted with Courtney Rainey in a manner to attempt to commit voter fraud.’”
During sentencing, Attorney Carlos Tanner stressed Rainey’s work in the community and no serious crimes with the exception of two shoplifting convictions, one expunged from her record.
“The defense talked about they’re only so many seats of power and money in this community, and what the court is struck by is Miss Rainey sits in every one of those seats," said Judge Arthur. "What strikes the court more, the defendant hasn’t just refused to accept responsibility; this defendant has doubled down and sought more power and more influence after these indictments came down.”
Prosecutors with the Madison County District Attorney's office say Rainey went to a witness' home and her job twice attempting to intimidate the witness into changing the statement she had given to investigators.
“For too long in this community people believe that they can take care of criminal matters by going outside the system, or going to talk to people, whether that be violence, threats, influence, persuasion, and that’s gotta come to a stop," Judge Arthur said.
Rainey has been Canton’s Director of Human and Cultural Needs and sits on the School Board. She was on the November Ballot running for Madison County Justice Court Judge District 2.
“Witness intimidation is an extremely serious felony; it strikes at the very heart of our system of justice," said District Attorney John K. Brameltt, Jr. "We completely support Judge Arthur’s sentence, and hope this sends a clear message that witness intimidation simply will not be tolerated in Madison or Rankin counties.”
Rainey, Canton’s Director of Human and Cultural Needs and school board member, was found guilty of witness intimidation in July.
The jury was hung on one count of voter fraud and found Rainey not guilty of conspiracy to commit voter fraud.
Rainey is sentenced to 15 years with three suspended. She also faces 7 other trials in the voter fraud case. The first trial expected to begin October 21st.