Wonder Woman has many powers, but the state election commission has stripped one power from the East Tennessee woman who portrays her in Hollywood.
Jennifer Wenger, a Maynardville, Tennessee native was registered to vote in Union County where her grandfather is City Judge Bruce Williams. In 2004 Wenger left East Tennessee seeking fame and fortune as an actress in Hollywood but instead of moving her voting registration, she registered again there.
Wenger reportedly last voted in 2010 City of Maynardville election in Union County. At the same time, records show, she voted in two federal elections.
Last month, state elections coordinator Mark Goins told the Knoxville Journal that he launched a fact-finding mission when an investigative reporter had brought this to his attention a few months earlier and that he had sent his findings to the district attorney for prosecution.
The investigative reporter, Stephany Davis, told the Knoxville Journal that the district attorney turned the case over to the TBI which, in turn the TBI agent presented the case to a Union County grand jury.
According to Davis, the grand jury handed down a recommendation instead of an indictment in July which read, “Request District Attorney’s Office to issue a letter to State Election Commission requiring action by Tennessee and California to remove subject from voting rolls and require residency…intent to determine which state shall remove her.”
The case sets far reaching implications across the state across the state according to State Election Coordinator Mark Goins. Goins said he appreciated Davis’ work on the Wenger case which indicates the need for a better system of tracking voters from state to state.
Davis said she obtained documentation that Wenger had signed under penalty of perjury which her signature constituted an agreement that reflected her current residency at a City of Maynardville address, following two years of complaints by various individuals concerning the 2010 election and a recent separate illegal voting and voter fraud investigation lead by Union County Sheriff Detectives Steve Rouse and Phillip Johnson.
Documentation from Los Angeles County and Union County confirming Wenger was registered and voted both in Union County, Tennessee and Los Angeles County, California.
Many Union County citizens pointed out this case was handled much differently than two other recent cases in which Linda Brewer and her brother Gary Gentry were arrested on voter fraud charges.
Gary Gentry was awaiting law enforcement arrival Thursday due to a burglary that had just occurred. He took time to explain his experience, “A year after they got an indictment against me, the deputies came to my house in the middle of the night, oh it was between 2 and 3 a.m. and arrested me.
“1n 1994 after my dad died, I was in the courthouse and saw Larry Roe, the election coordinator at the time. He asked me if was registered and I said I wasn’t. I told him, “You know I have been convicted of a felony. He signed me up anyway and gave me a form to have my voting rights restored. A few weeks later, I got the form back and was registered. Then in 2008, I was charged with illegal voting and so was my sister.”
Gentry continued, “The case was dismissed after they tried to get me to plead guilty and serve two to four years. I’m not pleading to something when I am not guilty.”
Gentry said his charges were dismissed in court and he paid costs. “They didn’t have any evidence on me. I corrected it in March when I found out about it, then they indicted me in April.”
About his sister Linda Brewer’s case, Gentry said she pleaded guilty because they intimidated her. They came down to our mom’s scaring her looking for Linda. They tried to run me off from mom’s.’
He explained his sister was raising her 12-year-old granddaughter because the girl’s mother was killed in an auto accident. “She didn’t want to risk losing her.
The evidence presented in the case of Gentry was a copy of a voting registration card where a YES or NO question was left blank. Under state law, election commissions must notify a voter of such a discrepancy.
According to Goins, a phone call was made to the City Judge to make him aware of his granddaughter’s voting activities. The UNL has also learned via the District Attorney’s office that Wenger was questioned by the law enforcement authorities.
Even though she escaped indictments in her Union County hometown where her grandfather is judge, the Wenger case may not be near closure, because authorities in California still have to determine if a law has been violated there.
If it is determined Wenger voted in a federal election illegally, the United States Department of Justice could take up the case.
Quoting from the website www.filmthreat.com, “Wenger grew up in Tennessee watching ‘Saturday Night Live,’ and as a child she knew she wanted to be an actor. She said her brother, Matt Wenger, was a comedian and a comic book artist. ‘He has always been a huge inspiration to me. I would watch him dive into these crazy characters at a moment’s notice. He had a little show he did in our basement that he let me be in every now and then, and that was my first gig.” These basement shows led Wenger to seriously consider pursuing acting, but she did not let many of her friends and family know.
‘I was afraid people would make fun of me, or tell me I was ridiculous. Some of the people who knew me were shocked when I just left one day for Hollywood.’
In addition to the role of Wonder Woman, Wenger recently acted in an episode of “True Blood”
By Wes Hall