Search warrants released in North Carolina election probe

Search warrants released in North Carolina election probe
FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2018 file photo, Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. poses for a portrait outside of his home in Bladenboro, N.C. The North Carolina political operative at the center of a ballot fraud scandal is facing criminal charges for his activities in the 2016 elections and the Republican primary in 2018. Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, that Dowless was arrested after grand jury indictments alleging illegal possession of absentee ballots and obstruction of justice. (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Unsealed search warrants show that a North Carolina political operative suspected of illegally handling election ballots in 2016 was under state and FBI surveillance when he and associates used ATMs days before last year’s primary.

The information was in warrants unsealed Wednesday in a state investigation that’s yielded felony election-law charges against Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr.

A December search warrant sought video, account holder information and other data for two Bladen County ATMs used in May by Dowless and people who did campaign work for him. The warrants apparently seek information on deposits, withdrawals or other transactions.

Warrants also seek records concerning Dowless’ cellphone and a second bank.

Dowless and others face charges for their activities in 2016 and last year’s GOP primary.

Dowless’ lawyer didn’t return messages seeking comment.