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Hialeah voter-fraud suspect contradicts Miami-Dade commissioner's former aide, says aide helped legislative candidates

Sergio “El Tío” Robaina said Thursday he wants to clear his name against electoral-fraud allegations and, in a further twist to Hialeah’s growing absentee-ballot scandal, claimed that a former aide to Miami-Dade County Commissioner Esteban Bovo asked for his help in collecting ballots.

In an interview with El Nuevo Herald, Robaina, 74, said Anamary Pedrosa and her mother stopped by his house four or five times to retrieve the ballots he had collected from friends and neighborhood acquaintances. He said he was never paid.

“She’d stop by about 5:30 p.m. with her mom,” he said. “They’d collect them and then count them.”

Robaina was arrested on Aug. 10 on two felony charges of tampering with absentee ballots. He said he’s never done such a thing.

“I will defend my innocence in court and wherever else I have to,” he said.

According to Robaina, Pedrosa visited after work hours. She told him she was helping with the campaigns of Manny Díaz Jr., José Oliva, and Eddy González, who won their respective bids for the Florida House of Representatives in the Aug. 14 primary elections.

However, email records show that Pedrosa was helping at least one of these candidates, Díaz, during work hours in June and July. Also, financial records show that her mother was paid to work on Oliva’s campaign in April.

More from Melissa Sanchez and Enrique Flor here.