Trump Named as Unindicted Co-conspirator in Michigan ‘Fake Electors’ Case

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed charges last year against 16 alternate electors from the 2020 election.

An official with the Michigan attorney general’s office revealed in court this week that former President Donald Trump has been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the state’s investigation into 2020 election interference.

Howard Shock, a special agent at Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office, said during a pretrial hearing in Lansing, Michigan, that investigators believe that a number of people (who have not been indicted) had taken part in an alleged conspiracy to cast fake electoral votes in 2020, including President Trump, according to The Detroit News.
Mr. Shock’s courtroom testimony came amid preliminary examinations in a district court as Ms. Nessel pursues felony charges against 16 people who signed certificates claiming that President Trump won Michigan in the presidential election, in what Ms. Nessel’s office said was a “false electors scheme.”

Republicans in some other states that similarly signed certificates for President Trump have said that the rationale for casting alternative slates of elector votes was that it would preserve President Trump’s legal claim for the election as legal challenges made their way through the courts.

At the time that she brought the charges, Ms. Nessel rejected that reasoning, arguing in a statement that the “false electors’ actions undermined the public’s faith in the integrity of our elections and, we believe, also plainly violated the laws by which we administer our elections in Michigan.”

She added that “it would be malfeasance of the greatest magnitude” if her department failed to bring charges in the case, in which each of the 16 individuals faces multiple felony charges that in total carry a maximum penalty of 85 years in prison.

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Mr. Shock’s disclosure came as a defense attorney, Duane Silverthorn, read out a list of names and asked the special agent if any of the individuals were “unindicted co-conspirators” in the case, according to The Associated Press, meaning that investigators believe they were part of the “false electors” plot but have not been charged. Mr. Shock confirmed “yes” with respect to President Trump, as well as former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and several high-ranking state Republicans.

A request for comment sent to the Trump campaign was not returned by press time.

Another person named as an unindicted co-conspirator was Stu Sandler, a GOP consultant and legal adviser to former Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Laura Cox.

“I stand by the sound legal advice I gave and these partisan lawfare prosecutions have to stop,” Mr. Sandler told The Detroit News. “Why in five years of Dana Nessel are only Republicans the continuing targets of these partisan lawfare prosecutions?”

Ms. Nessel’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Mr. Sandler’s allegation or to an inquiry as to whether any future charges are being considered for the currently unindicted co-conspirators, including President Trump.

Background

Following President Trump’s claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election, Republican electors in seven states—including Michigan—cast alternative slates of votes for him.

While there has been precedent for dueling sets of electors casting votes in a presidential election, the large number of states to do so in 2020 sent the election into uncharted territory.

“Sending more than one slate of electors is not unheard of,” Meshawn Maddock, former co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party, said in an emailed statement in December 2020. “It’s our duty to the people of Michigan and to the U.S. Constitution to send another slate of electors if the election is in controversy or dispute—and clearly it is.”

Ms. Maddock is one of the 16 individuals who have been charged in the case. The other individuals who face charges are Kathy Berden, a Republican National Committeewoman from Michigan; William (Hank) Choate; Amy Facchinello; Clifford Frost; Stanley Grot; John Haggard; Mary-Ann Henry; Timothy King; Michele Lundgren; James Renner; Mayra Rodriguez; Rose Rook; Marian Sheridan; Ken Thompson; and Kent Vanderwood.

The Michigan attorney general’s office said that the defendants met at the Michigan Republican Party headquarters on Dec. 14, 2020, and signed their names on multiple certificates attesting to being the “duly elected and qualified electors” for president and vice president of the United States for the state of Michigan.

“That was a lie,” Ms. Nessel said in a video statement announcing the charges last year. “They weren’t the duly elected and qualified electors and each of the defendants knew it.”

The certificates that the 16 individuals signed were subsequently transmitted to the U.S. Senate and the National Archives in what Ms. Nessel’s office described as a “coordinated effort” to hand the state’s electoral votes to a different candidate than the one actually elected by the people of Michigan.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks during a news conference outside of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office in Flint, Mich., on Sept. 19, 2022. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks during a news conference outside of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office in Flint, Mich., on Sept. 19, 2022. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)

More Details

Macomb County GOP Chairman Mark Forton has pushed back on Ms. Nessel’s allegations.

“This is a witch hunt designed to prosecute and punish citizens who are duly elected and perform a major function in presidential elections,” he said at a July 2023 press conference in Lansing.

Mr. Forton disputed Ms. Nessel’s characterization of the 16 accused as “false electors.”

“This current quest by the socialist Democrats to eliminate the [Electoral] College is now spilling over to criminally attack a group of 16 legally elected electors on the Republican side for the 2020 election,” he said at the press conference.

“The 16 individuals under attack are not fake electors.”

He noted that they were legally elected under Michigan law at a convention to represent the Republican Party as electors.

By contrast, Michigan Democrats have praised Ms. Nessel’s decision to bring criminal charges.

The U.S. president is selected by 538 electors, known as the Electoral College, with electors apportioned based on the population of each state. This occasionally leads to an outcome in which a candidate is elected to the White House who didn’t win the popular vote.

Proponents of this system argue that it is a fair power-sharing arrangement between higher-population states and lower-population states and reflects the principle of federalism. They also argue that it prevents smaller states from being dominated by larger states and ensures that whoever wins the presidency enjoys a measure of broad-based support across the country.

Opponents say that it leads candidates to focus a disproportionate amount of campaign time and attention on the concerns of voters in key battleground states while ignoring “flyover country.”

There’s a serious effort underway to eliminate the Electoral College and replace it with what amounts to a popular vote.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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