Local

Former Clay County auditor Norris faces charges of violating election law

William James Norris, who resigned in August as Clay County auditor, was charged Monday with a felony election law violation.

Norris, 28, is accused of making a false swearing when he signed paperwork stating that he had no felony conviction on his record.

He also was charged with a misdemeanor count of tampering with computer data involving nude photos of a woman that he allegedly obtained from her cell phone without her permission and posted on a website.

Norris surrendered to authorities about 10:30 a.m. and was released on a signature bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

“We plan on pleading not guilty and reviewing the charges and we will decide the next course of action,” said his attorney, Shawn Blair.

Norris, a Republican, was elected auditor last November. When he filed for the office, he declared in a sworn statement that he was not a convicted felon. A Missouri statute says no person shall qualify as a candidate for elective office if he or she has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a felony.

In July, prosecutors learned Norris had a felony conviction from 2006.

Norris acknowledged to The Star that month that he had pleaded guilty in 2006 to a felony count of aggravated stalking in Grundy County, Mo. Norris said he received a suspended sentence and was placed on probation for five years.

A month after filing to run for Clay County auditor, Norris said, he requested and received an early release from probation. Norris said he asked that the criminal records be sealed.

According to court records, Norris was charged in February 2005 with felony aggravated stalking and misdemeanor violation of a protection order. He pleaded to the two charges on July 13, 2006. Norris received a suspended sentence and was placed on five years’ probation. The probation ended on July 14, 2011. Norris was still on probation for the guilty plea when he filled out the candidate paperwork to run for Clay County auditor.

During the campaign for county auditor, Norris said that he was a graduate of William Jewell College in Liberty. Officials at William Jewell, however, said they had no record that he graduated.

According to court records, investigators obtained Norris’ college transcript, which showed that he took two classes in the fall semester of 2006 and two classes in the spring semester of 2007. Norris failed the two courses he took in 2007 and had a grade point average of 1.825.

  Comments