Evidence of vote suppression lacking

November 27, 1993|By New York Times News Service

NEWARK, N.J. -- Frequently testy, at other times agitated, Webster B. Todd Jr., the brother of Gov.-elect Christine Todd Whitman, completed his sworn testimony before lawyers for the Democratic Party yesterday, offering nothing to advance their investigation into allegations that Republicans paid to suppress the urban black vote in the election for governor.

In testimony sprinkled with the response "I don't know," Mr. Todd acknowledged that his sister's campaign strategy included keeping the Democratic vote light, but he steadfastly denied allegations of paid voter suppression.

"I have no knowledge of any monies being dispensed by anyone to discourage voters," he stated, according to a 136-page transcript of his seven-hour deposition.

After hearing the testimony, sullen Democratic lawyers acknowledged that neither Mr. Todd nor Edward J. Rollins Jr., Mrs. Whitman's chief political strategist and campaign manager, who was questioned a week ago, had said anything to substantiate the allegations or to advance a Democratic Party lawsuit to invalidate the outcome of the Nov. 2 election.

"I cannot say we have sufficient evidence that would be admissible in court that could overturn the election," said the chief lawyer for the Democrats, Gerald Krovatin.

He said he and the other lawyers would meet with state and national Democratic Party leaders within the next few days to evaluate the material they have so far from the depositions and the party's investigation and then decide how to proceed.

"We're not going to drag this out one day longer than is necessary," Mr. Krovatin said.

Mr. Todd eluded reporters after giving his deposition, but lawyers distributed a transcript of his testimony, and he issued a statement through his lawyer in which he called the allegations and the Democratic Party investigation groundless.

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