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Michigan AG Dana Nessel Announces Charges Against 16 'False Electors'

Michigan AG Dana Nessel Announces Charges Against 16 'False Electors'

Dana Nessel

They are accused of participating in a scheme to throw the state's electoral vote to Donald Trump, the out attorney general said.

Dana Nessel, the out attorney general of Michigan, Tuesday announced felony charges against 16 people who participated in the alleged “false electors” scheme to throw the state’s electoral vote to Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, the first criminal charges relating to the matter.

Michigan officials certified that Democrat Joe Biden had carried the state with more than 2.8 million votes, about 154,000 more than Trump, Nessel, a Democrat and a lesbian, said in announcing the charges via video. “Despite this, the groundwork was laid for a plan to send alternative slates of Trump electors to Congress in an attempt to outmaneuver and circumvent the long-standing Electoral College process,” she said.

Her office alleges that as part of this plan, 16 Michigan residents “met covertly” and signed certificates claiming they were the duly elected and qualified electors for the state. “That was lie,” she said, and they knew they were lying.

Some of them attempted to deliver the documents to the Michigan Senate but were turned away, she noted. The documents were then forwarded to the U.S. Senate and the National Archives in hopes that then-Vice President Mike Pence would recognize the alternative slate and overturn the election results in favor of Trump, she said.

“The false electors’ actions undermine the public’s faith in the integrity of our elections and not only violated the spirit of the laws enshrining and defending our democracy but, we believe, also plainly violated the laws by which we administer our elections in Michigan and peaceably transfer power in America,” she said.

Nessel’s office has therefore filed charges against the 16 alternative electors. Each is charged with 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. All are felonies.

The first four charges carry a 14-year maximum prison sentence, the latter two a sentence of up to five years. “Uttering and publishing” means creating or altering a document with the intent to defraud someone.

“Undoubtedly, there will be those who claim these charges are political in nature,” Nessel said. “But where these 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.”

“It is important to note that these individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law,” she continued. “But we believe the evidence will demonstrate there was no legal authority for the false electors to purport to act as ‘duly elected presidential electors’ and execute the false electoral documents.”

The defendants will soon appear in court in Michigan’s Ingham County, which includes most of Lansing, the state capital. The investigation is continuing, and Nessel hasn’t ruled out charges against others.

Nessel had referred the case to the U.S. Department of Justice in 2022, but when that federal department didn’t bring charges after a year, she reopened the state-level investigation.

Investigations of fake electors schemes in Arizona and Georgia are ongoing, while in Nevada, Attorney General Aaron Ford did not bring charges against anyone accused of being involved in such a plan, saying state law did not empower him to do so.

When Congress was certifying the electoral vote January 6, 2021, the process was interrupted by Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol. About 1,000 participants in the insurrection have been charged with crimes, and several hundred have pleaded guilty or been convicted in court. Trump has said he expects to be indicted on charges relating to the January 6 action.

See the video below or read a transcript and a press release from Nessel.

Michigan AG Dana Nessel Charges 16 ‘False Electors’ with Election Law and Forgery

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