Nessel says there is enough evidence to charge fake GOP electors

By: - January 18, 2022 3:52 pm

A Stop The Steal is posted inside of the Capitol Building after a pro-Trump mob broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. A pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, breaking windows in the deadly insurrection attempt aimed at stopping Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s win in the November election. | Jon Cherry | Getty Images

Attorney General Dana Nessel says there is “absolutely” enough election fraud evidence to charge the 16 false electors who attempted to submit a 2020 Electoral College certificate for former President Donald Trump in December 2020. 

The Democrat asked the feds last week to investigate the 16 fraudulent signees in Michigan, as well as a larger conspiracy that she believes spans across multiple states. The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol also is reportedly probing the issue.

During a press conference Tuesday, Nessel said she is committed to holding the slate of Republicans accountable if the federal government doesn’t intervene. 

Will false Trump electors’ attempt to hijack the Michigan vote be punished?

“I feel confident that we have enough evidence to charge should we decide to pursue that,” Nessel said. “I think that it’s a better idea for the feds to pursue this. … It is not as though we have made a determination that we are certainly not going to charge. I am just sort of waiting to see what it is that they’ll decide to do.”

In December 2020, Michigan’s Electoral College unanimously voted for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who won Michigan by more than 154,000 votes.

The 16 fraudulent signees include Michigan RNC National Committeewoman Kathy Berden, who served as chair; Michigan GOP Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock; and Stan Grot, the Shelby Township clerk  at the center of a payoff scandal at the Michigan GOP alleged by former Chair Laura Cox.

Other signatories were: Hank Choate, Rose Rook, Mayra Rodriguez, Clifford Frost, John Haggard, Kent Vanderwood, Timothy King, Michele Lundgren, Marian Sheridan and Mari-Ann Henry. Two of the GOP delegates didn’t show up and were replaced. James Renner replaced Gerald Wall and Ken Thompson replaced former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land.

Some fake electors and Trump supporters attempted to enter the Capitol building as the Electoral College was casting votes for Biden, but were denied entry. 

Nessel said she is hoping the federal government investigates this because she doesn’t have jurisdiction over the six other states that had “seemingly identical” false certificates showing Trump as the winner. Those states are Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which were all won by Biden.

“It’s clear to me that this was not independent rogue actors that were unknowingly doing the same thing as they had done in many other states,” Nessel said. “From a jurisdictional standpoint, we think it’s important because it allows for the federal authorities to determine if there was a conspiracy that was a multi-state conspiracy.”

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.