Michigan charges 16 with felonies in 2020 false elector scheme
A group of Michigan Republicans who allegedly posed as electoral college members after the 2020 election are now facing felony charges.
Prosecutors allege the 16 people, including former state Republican Party co-chair Meshawn Maddock, tried to award the state’s electoral college votes to Donald Trump. That’s despite him losing the state by around 154,000 votes.
Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the charges Tuesday in a video. She said the defendants were trying to upend the democratic process.
“Undoubtedly, there will be those who claim these charges are political in nature, but where there is overwhelming evidence of guilt in respect to multiple crimes, the most political act I could engage in as a prosecutor would be to take no action at all,” Nessel said.
Each defendant is facing eight counts total. That includes:
- one count of conspiracy to commit forgery,
- two counts of forgery,
- one count of conspiracy to commit uttering and publishing,
- one count of uttering and publishing,
- one count of conspiracy to commit election law forgery, and
- two counts of election law forgery.
The longest sentence associated with the charges is 14 years.
The charges trace back to December 2020, when a group showed up outside the state capitol in Lansing attempting to submit their own electoral college votes in a memo addressed to the President of the U.S. Senate, U.S. Archivist, the Michigan Secretary of State and the chief judge of the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Michigan.
State police turned the crowd away from the capitol, despite a handful of Republican state lawmakers being among them. Nessel said the signers of the memo eventually transmitted it to the U.S. Senate and National Archives.
“That the effort failed, and democracy prevailed does not erase the crimes of those who enacted the false electors plot to overturn the election and circumvent the will of Michigan voters,” Nessel said.
Nessel said more charges could come in the case.
The saga involving the signers of the memo has already seen them subpoenaed by the U.S. House Select committee on January 6 and one member of the group potentially facing punishment from the state’s Attorney Discipline Board.
The Attorney General’s office says there hasn’t yet been a date set for each defendant to be individually arraigned in Ingham County Court.
In a statement released Wednesday, the day after the charges were announced, the Michigan Republican Party said the charges were a sign of "possible misuse of power" by the attorney general's office.