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Former Colorado state representative pleads guilty to criminal charges after lying about her residence

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Former state Rep. Tracey Bernett, a Boulder County Democrat, on Friday pleaded guilty to criminal charges filed after she lied about her place of residence to run for reElection last year in a more politically favorable district.

Bernett, appearing in court Friday, pleaded guilty to attempting to influence a public servant, a Class 4 felony, and perjury, a Class 1 misdemeanor. She was granted a deferred sentence, which means she won’t face prison time as long as she completes the terms of the deferred sentence, including two years of probation and 150 hours of community service. 

Bernett resigned from the legislature on Jan. 9, the first day of the 2023 lawmaking term. She was charged in November, days before the election. As part of her guilty plea, other charges Bernett faced in the case were dismissed. 

Bernett tearfully apologized as she pleaded guilty and was sentenced. “My life has always involved public service,” she said.

David Kaplan, Bernett’s attorney, called the situation an aberration.

The charges stem from a complaint filed in September with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office by Theresa Watson, chair of the Boulder County Republicans. The complaint asked prosecutors to look into whether Bernett broke the law by casting a ballot in the June 28 primary while registered at an address where she doesn’t actually live.

Bernett on Nov. 3, 2021, changed the address of her voter registration from a 4,000-square-foot home in Longmont to a 700-square-foot apartment in Louisville, so she could run for reelection in House District 12, which leans heavily in Democrats’ favor, according to a nonpartisan analysis of election results dating back to 2016.

The Longmont home was drawn into the adjacent House District 19 during the once-in-a-decade redistricting process in 2021. The new District 19 favors Republicans and was represented by GOP Rep. Dan Woog, of Erie.

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