PATERSON, N.J. (AP) — Paterson Councilman Rigo Rodriguez said he will not resign even though he faces charges stemming from a voter fraud investigation.

Rodriguez spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time since his arrest earlier this month.

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The Record reports Rodriguez asked the public for the “benefit of the doubt.” He said the charges were part of a plot to divide the minority community in Paterson.

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The 38-year-old councilman, his wife and his adviser are charged with witness tampering.

Eleven of the councilman’s supporters are accused of tampering with mail-in ballots and filling out mail-in ballots for voters who either did not receive them or did not authorize them to vote for them in the May election.

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