Secretary of State Shenna Bellows listens to testimony Monday on a challenge by Seth Carey, right, to district attorney candidate Neil McLean Jr.’s election paperwork. Jonathan Bolton, an assistant attorney general, provided Bellows with legal assistance at the hearing in Augusta. Steve Collins/Sun Journal

AUGUSTA — During an occasionally colorful, 2 1/2-hour hearing Monday, suspended lawyer Seth Carey sought to prove the only district attorney candidate for Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties should be tossed off the ballot for collecting petition signatures improperly.

Neil McLean Jr. of Turner listens Monday to a hearing for Seth Carey of Rumford, who sought to prove McLean, the only district attorney candidate for Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties, should be tossed off the ballot for collecting petition signatures improperly. Steve Collins/Sun Journal

Yet despite calling a few handpicked witnesses, Carey did not provide evidence that Republican hopeful Neil McLean Jr. had done anything wrong.

“Simply put, Mr. Carey’s failed in his challenge today,” said Joshua Tardy, a lawyer representing McLean, who is an assistant district attorney for Androscoggin County.

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, who listened to the evidence presented, said she would issue a ruling within the five days required by law.

Even Carey, a Rumford resident, packing up after the session, said he is not going to win.

Carey’s argument centered on the notion that 11 pages of signatures gathered by McLean at Republican events in February should be discarded because he could not have witnessed each person sign the paperwork because the paperwork allegedly sat on a table with nobody watching it. As part of the normal paperwork review, McLean had to attest he had eyeballed each person as the person penned his or her name.


But Carey could not produce a single person who agreed with him that McLean had fallen short of the requirement.

Seth Carey of Rumford attends a hearing Monday in August in an effort to prove that district attorney candidate Neil McLean Jr. of Turner had lied on election paperwork and should be disqualified from seeking office. Steve Collins/Sun Journal

In fact, two witnesses of the six called by Carey said McLean was there when they signed McLean’s papers at a Rumford GOP gathering.

“You were sitting there,” Rumford Republican leader William Scott told Carey on Monday, adding McLean was standing there when he and Carey signed the petition to help McLean get on the ballot.

Sharon Moore, another Rumford Republican, said Carey was “right across from me” when McLean handed her the paperwork to sign.

Another witness, Lewiston’s Janet Beaudoin, who is running for a seat in the Maine House of Representatives, told the hearing she had signed the papers at a Republican Lincoln Day dinner while McLean stood nearby.

Carey appeared astonished at her response and then asked her why she told him something different when he spoke to her Saturday.


Beaudoin said Carey interrupted her at her home at dinnertime and she was “totally thrown by what you were asking me” about McLean’s petitions.

“I was very confused,” she said.

“What’s confusing about just saying the truth?” Carey asked her.

Carey then played back a recording of his conversation with her, in which Beaudoin said she did not remember McLean being there.

But Beaudoin, a Lewiston School Committee member, said she was flustered when the two spoke and that McLean had been near the table when she signed.

Moreover, she said, Carey had come back to her home a second time late Saturday “creeping up my stairs” in the dark. She said she phoned the police to deal with him.


Lawyer Joshua Tardy, representing  Republican candidate Neil McLean Jr. of Turner, testifies Monday at a hearing in Augusta involving a challenge to McLean’s candidacy by Seth Carey of Rumford. Steve Collins/Sun Journal

Carey said later he was simply going back to drop off a $10 check required for subpoenaed witnesses that he had forgotten to deliver during the first visit. He said he was trying not to disturb her again, but her security system alerted her to his presence outside.

Carey began his case by calling himself a whistleblower who should not be required to make the case against McLean. He said the state ought to do the investigating since it has the resources.

He asked the Kennebec County Superior Court on Monday to step in and mandate the secretary of state and attorney general take over the probe instead of forcing him to finance and carry it out.

Carey said he was participating in the hearing under protest because an ordinary person should not have to shoulder the burden or face a powerful foe like Tardy, whom he tagged “the Michael Cohen of the Republican Party” in Maine.

Cohen was former President Donald Trump’s private lawyer until the two had a public, vicious falling out halfway through Trump’s presidency.

McLean, a Turner resident, said he did not violate the statute requiring he witness signatures he collected. He said he had read the statute and tried to do everything right in his quest to move up from an assistant district attorney for Androscoggin County to the top prosecutor for the three-county region.


The current district attorney, Democrat Andrew Robinson of Farmington, is stepping down. He has been tapped for a judgeship by Gov. Janet Mills. His party could not come up with a candidate for his job.

Although Carey said McLean is a social guy who was busy talking to other politicians at various GOP events, McLean said that is not true. He insisted he is “not a social butterfly running around the room” and was “never out of sight of the petitions.”

McLean said he “may have been in error” leaving the paperwork on a table while he spoke at a dinner, but steadfastly maintained that nobody signed them during that period, in part because his small campaign team was watching them because they did not entirely trust Carey, who was nearby.

At the time, Carey, whose law license is suspended, was also hoping to grab a spot on the Republican ballot for district attorney. He lost out on that bid, though, when he switched his registration to independent.

Carey said Monday he left the GOP so he could run for the prosecutor’s position as an independent if he gets the required signatures filed by June. He would also have to get his law license back, which is possible.

Carey faces a more serious challenge, though, because he faces a slew of charges, including two felonies, stemming from allegations he sexually assaulted a woman living at his Rumford home in 2018.

Carey told Bellows he wound up in legal trouble because he challenged Robinson in 2018, winning a Republican primary and snagging 42% of the vote in the general election.

“I ended up in jail, basically a political prisoner,” Carey said.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.