Benton Harbor recall election could remain in limbo until Thursd - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Benton Harbor recall election could remain in limbo until Thursday

Posted:
We will know by Thursday whether the mayoral recall election in Benton Harbor will move forward.  The Berrien County Court held a hearing Tuesday on the County Clerk's request for a stay on the election.  The fate of the election came into question when community activist Rev. Edward Pinkney was accused of forging dates on the recall petition.

The petition was submitted in January, and the election was set for May 6.  Benton Harbor City Commissioner Marcus Muhammad is running to replace Mayor James Hightower.  The mayor said at Tuesday's hearing that he saw the petitions, and was suspicious of them himself.  "If this goes through, my faith in the state will diminish," said Hightower.

Muhammad argued that no wrong-doing had been proven, yet.  "If this election is thrown out because of allegations, I think that would be gravely unfortunate."

The judge has asked all parties involved to provide additional information on how they believe the election would help or hurt Benton Harbor.  He said he would have his final decision by Thursday.

Following today's court hearing, Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower held a press conference outside his campaign offices. He says, "I am very confident that I will win the recall election if it came down to it. I'm not surprised by the fact a verdict wasn't reached today because of the importance of the decision."

FOX28 also met with Reverend Edward Pinkney after the court hearing. "I know that the nation is looking at our community and watching what the courts are doing. I can't wait for the court to keep the election and have the two candidates go man to man on Tuesday at the polls," he says. Pinkney is currently facing fraud charges on forging the dates on the recall petitions. When asked if he's guilty, "I'm completely 100% innocent. This is just a way to take the focus off the Mayor and how he only works for himself, and not the people. So, make me the bad guy. That's okay," says Pinkney.

A decision will be made Thursday by the Judge whether or not the recall election will proceed. Pinkney tells FOX28 he is due in court on Tuesday at the court house. 
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