PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Attorney General Peter Neronha said Tuesday his office is likely within a few months of resolving its criminal investigation into the fraudulent signatures submitted on behalf of Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos’s congressional campaign.
Matos, a Democrat, saw her campaign for Rhode Island’s open 1st Congressional District seat consumed by the mid-July revelation that her staff had submitted apparently forged signatures in several communities. Matos and her top lieutenants have said they were victims of a bad vendor they hired to do the work.
During a live interview Tuesday on 12 News at 4, Neronha said it was “hard to say” if prosecutors would make a decision about whether to file any charges over the signatures before the Nov. 7 special election, when Democrat Gabe Amo is facing Republican Gerry Leonard. (Matos has endorsed Amo.)
“The state police and our lawyers, our prosecutors, are working hard, tracking the witnesses down and putting together the materials we need to make that decision,” Neronha said. “I don’t want to forecast it.”
Noting that the special election is now just weeks away, he added, “certainly I would think by the end of the year we should have some clarity on that.”
Matos — who was appointed lieutenant governor in 2021 and was elected to a full four-year term last November — has returned to her day job since placing fourth in the Sept. 5 congressional primary. She has said she supports a full investigation into the signatures.
Filing false signatures is a felony under Rhode Island law that comes with a potential maximum penalty of 10 years behind bars and a potential fine of up to $5,000.
Ted Nesi (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Threads, Twitter and Facebook.