Former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth believes she's being unfairly targeted because Attorney General Marty Jackley has a vendetta against her.
The former candidate was charged Wednesday with six counts of perjury and six counts of filing false election documents after state investigators say she signed her name as a circulator on petitions she never circulated.
Bosworth says she made no knowing attempt to deceive anyone when she turned in her nominating petitions to get on the ballot for the Republican U.S. Senate primary. Bosworth believes she is being targeted by Jackley because she ran against his political ally - former Governor Mike Rounds.
Bosworth lobbed the attacks at a Friday afternoon news conference from behind a bunker of legal documents.
"It is simple. Marty Jackley's goal is not justice. It is revenge," Bosworth said Friday.
Bosworth believes the 12-count criminal complaint filed against her this week is payback because she successfully fought back against Jackley's office and kept her medical license in 2012 and because she ran against Rounds, who appointed Jackley as South Dakota Attorney General.
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"So this latest assault is a continuation of those attacks. Marty Jackley wants to destroy me and he won't be satisfied until he does," Bosworth said.
Bosworth was charged after state investigators found that the former candidate was in the Philippines on the dates when she supposedly gathered signatures for her nominating petitions to get on the ballot.
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"I made no knowing attempt to deceive anyone about the petitions and that I fully complied with the law as I understood it," Bosworth said.
“Bosworth's actions and public admissions on her petitions speak for themselves,” Jackley said in a statement late Friday afternoon. “Despite her beliefs, the medical board determines licensure issues, and the legislature sets the election rules to ensure the integrity of our elections.”
Jackley calls the alleged conduct by Bosworth serious and deliberate.
At the same time, Bosworth is crying foul.
"How does it make any sense for me to break the law and what would I get out of it?" Bosworth asked.
If convicted on all twelve counts, Bosworth could face 24 years in prison.
Her first court appearance will be June 23 in Pierre.