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Special prosecutor appointed in 2008 presidential election fraud case

A special prosecutor will now take over the election fraud case that involves the allegedly forged petitions for President Obama and Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential race. 

Mike Dvorak, the prosecutor for Indiana's St. Joseph County, has withdrawn, the day after he brought charges against four Democratic officials and party operatives -- accusing them of faking voters' names and signatures to put Obama and Clinton on the Indiana primary ballot four years ago. 

Dvorak's name was reportedly faked on one of the petitions. A statement from his office states "he may be called as a witness." Under Indiana state law, a lawyer cannot try a case in which he or she may be called as a witness. Because of that, his office has announced that Stanley Levco, a former prosecutor from another county, will take over. 

The defendants, each accused of multiple felony counts, include former longtime Democratic county chairman Butch Morgan, who is accused of being the mastermind behind the forgery scheme. 

Democratic Voter Registration Board Supervisor Pam Brunette and Democratic Board worker Beverly Shelton are also charged. 

Democratic volunteer and former Board worker Dustin Blythe, who is accused of forging signatures on Obama's petitions, also faces charges of forgery and falsely making a petition of nomination. 

The case was blown open three years after the election, when one of the alleged participants in the scheme came forward to authorities. 

26-year-old Democratic worker and Voter Registration Board employee Lucas Burkett told prosecutors that in January 2008, he was ordered to forge presidential petitions for then-Sen. Barack Obama to put his name on the primary ballot. He claims that the plot was hatched and carried out inside the St. Joseph County Democratic Party headquarters, and that he even forged some of the signatures himself. 

According to court papers, Burkett told investigators he had a change of heart during the secret operation and decided to come clean. 

Now his lawyer calls him "a hero." 

Andrew B. Jones, Burkett's attorney, told Fox News that Burkett "is the whistleblower in this. ... He is someone who stood up for good government, and has cooperated with the state police and will continue to do so." 

Investigators say they found forgeries on 22 Obama and Clinton petitions. Each petition page contains 10 names. 

Multiple voters told Fox News they never signed the Obama petitions that included their signatures and names, and were stunned and disturbed to see their names included. 

Prosecutors say that the forgery assignments were split among three of the suspects, with one handling Clinton, another Obama, and Blythe allegedly assigned to then-candidate John Edwards. But, according to the documents, when Burkett quit, Blythe was then assigned his forgery duty, for the candidate who would eventually become president. 

Jeffrey Kimmell, the attorney representing Blythe says his client is "not guilty," and that Burkett had other motives for coming forward. 

Referring to Burkett as "a disgruntled employee" of the Voter Registration Board, Kimmell tells Fox News, "He was dismissed and is acting out of a vendetta against all of these people... Three years after the petitions were entered he went to the newspapers; he didn't go to the police. He is obviously out to try to harm people, not because he's any sort of Good Samaritan." 

When asked if his client knows anything about the allegedly forged petitions, Kimmell said: "We don't know what happened. We don't know for sure that these are actually the petitions that were even turned in. It is my understanding that they weren't kept in a secure location." 

Indiana State Police say the investigation continues. 

If you suspect voter or election fraud where you live, tell us: Voterfraud@Foxnews.com 

Eric Shawn is a New York-based anchor and senior correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He anchors "America's News Headquarters" on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. ET. and  “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.” He anchors frequently  during the week on the Fox News Channel and reports on politics, terrorism, and foreign affairs. Shawn has  provided live coverage from both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions since 1992.  In 2004 he led the Fox News investigative team that uncovered new evidence in the murder of Jimmy Hoffa, based on the claims of hit-man Frank Sheeran.  Click here for more information on Eric Shawn.