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Investigator says Trump, allies were part of Michigan election scheme despite not being charged

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Grand Rapids, Mich., Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/AP
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Grand Rapids, Mich., Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DETROIT (AP) — A state investigator testified Wednesday that he considers former President Donald Trump and his White House chief of staff to be uncharged co-conspirators in a scheme to claim that he had won Michigan in the 2020 election, despite Democrat Joe Biden's clear victory.

Trump and Mark Meadows were among the names mentioned during the cross-examination of Howard Shock, whose work led to forgery charges against more than a dozen people in Michigan. A judge in the state capital is holding hearings to determine if there is enough evidence to order a trial.

A defense attorney, Duane Silverthorn, offered a series of names and asked Shock if they were "unindicted co-conspirators," which means they weren't charged but could have been part of an alleged plot to put Michigan's electoral votes in Trump's column.

Prosecutors from the attorney general's office didn't object. Shock responded "yes" to Trump, Meadows, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and some high-ranking state Republicans.

Silverthorn then moved on to other questions.

"I'm surprised the question was even answered," said Detroit-area attorney Margaret Raben, former head of a statewide association of defense lawyers.

"It's irrelevant — legally and factually irrelevant — that there are other people who could have been charged or should have been charged," said Raben, who is not involved in the case.

Meadows' lawyer, George Terwilliger, had a similar reaction when reached by The Associated Press. He declined further comment. An email seeking comment was sent to a Trump spokesperson. Giuliani political adviser Ted Goodman emailed a response that didn't address the specific issue.

In Georgia, Trump, Giuliani and others are charged with conspiracy related to the filing of a Republican elector certificate in that state following the 2020 election. Meadows is also charged in Georgia but not in relation to the elector scheme. They have pleaded not guilty.

An indictment by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith charging Trump with plotting to overturn the election also accuses the former president in a fake elector scheme and identifies six unnamed and unindicted co-conspirators, including Giuliani.

In Michigan, authorities said more than a dozen Republicans sent certificates to Congress falsely declaring they were electors and that Trump was the winner of the 2020 election in the state, despite results showing he had lost. Attorney General Dana Nessel said the scheme was hatched in the basement of the state Republican Party headquarters.

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