Democratic Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed charges on Tuesday against 16 people who attempted to act as electors in the Electoral College and cast electoral votes in favor of then-President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
Following the election on Nov. 3, 2020, Trump claimed that electoral fraud was the reason for his loss, both nationwide as well as in the state of Michigan, where he lost by a narrow margin of 2.78% to then-candidate Joe Biden. Some top Republican officials in the state attempted to contest the state’s results by signing documents claiming they were members of the Electoral College, and attempted to cast their ballots for Trump, actions that led to forgery charges by Nessel’s office on Tuesday, according to NBC News. (RELATED: Georgia Supreme Court Unanimously Denies Trump’s Bid To Block Grand Jury Report)
“That was a lie. They weren’t the duly elected and qualified electors, and each of the defendants knew it,” Nessel said in recorded remarks, per NBC News.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has announced the INDICTMENTS of 16 fake electors who signed certificates falsely claiming Trump won Michigan in the 2020 election. pic.twitter.com/BoKIXvCBhQ
— MeidasTouch (@MeidasTouch) July 18, 2023
Those charged included the Michigan Republican Party’s co-chair Meshawn Maddock and Kathy Berden, who represent the state on the Republican National Committee. One woman who was charged said she believed she was signing an attendance sheet for a meeting, and did not know what an “elector” was, according to WDIV News.
After signing the documents, the alleged false electors attempted to deliver the documents claiming they were qualified electors to the United States Senate, but Senate officials declined to accept them, according NBC News. They were also sent to the National Archives.
The separate slate of electoral votes were sent “with the intent that Vice President [Mike] Pence would overturn the results of the election, using the false electoral slate,” Nessel said. In 2020, Pence had declined to entertain any alternative electors from states, as Trump had suggested he do, in order to prevent Biden’s election from being certified by Congress.
Under Michigan law, the state’s electors for the Electoral College must convene in the state Senate chamber after the election and vote for the candidate of the party that nominated them, after which the state transmits the certificate of the vote to Congress, per the U.S. Constitution. Those steps were not followed by the 16 accused false electors, who apparently met in the basement of the Michigan Republican Party’s offices, according to NBC News.
Nessel’s actions mark the first time that charges have been brought against those accused of being false electors during the 2020 election. Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford of Nevada has declined to prosecute alleged false electors in the state, while the Department of Justice declined to file charges after Nessel referred the Michigan 16 to the department for prosecution.
Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and former President Donald Trump did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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