‘Expert’ witness isn’t, judge rules

Cuevas claims numerous irregularities may have contributed to the narrow loss. Allegations include voting machine malfunctions, voters being turned away from polls, and ballots taken home by a Democratic Party official on election night.

But on the first day of trial, Circuit Judge Billy Joe Landrum declined expert witness status for Pete Perry, Cuevas’ star witness. Perry, chairman of the Hinds County Republican Executive Committee, led the charge for Cuevas to conduct an exhaustive review of balloting materials after the election.

Under questioning Wednesday, Perry testified that he has taught many seminars for poll managers and holds a certification in polling expertise. However, he said he could not remember the title of the certificate and could not produce a copy.

Perry also testified that his services are costing Cuevas $150 per hour. But Landrum ruled that under Mississippi law, Perry is unqualified. As such, he can testify, but will not be allowed to voice expert opinions.

“He may be an expert, but he can’t qualify as an expert,” said Landrum.

Sun Herald