McCrae Dowless, the man at the center of the NC-09 election fraud investigation, has died, according to his attorney. Dowless was battling cancer.
In 2019, Dowless was indicted on several charges in connection to the election fraud investigation in Bladen County, including felony obstruction of justice, perjury and possession of absentee ballots.
A Channel 9 investigation in 2018 uncovered allegations that Dowless paid people to illegally collect absentee ballots for Republican candidate Mark Harris.
The following year, the state board of elections called for a new election in North Carolina's District 9 congressional race. It is the only time in documented history a federal election was overturned for a fraud investigation.
In November 2021, Dowless denied a plea deal that would have required him to spend a year in prison and five years on probation. He was scheduled to go on trial in the summer of 2022.
Channel 9 asked the Wake County District Attorney how this will affect the pending charges against Dowless and his co-defendants. The DA's office sent a statement saying:
"Our condolences to the Dowless family. Unfortunately, COVID created a delay in the handling of this case like with many others. We had set a trial date of August and Mr. Dowless was entitled to the presumption of innocence through his day in court. There remain about six others charged related to this matter and we will be moving forward with those cases with the understanding that the State's position was always that Mr. Dowless was the principle coordinator of the ballot process in question."
This is a developing story. Return to wsoctv.com for updates.
(WATCH BELOW: Man at center of US House District 9 ballot fraud rejects plea deal, trial date set)