© 2024 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Michigan charges 16 false electors for 2020 plot to keep Donald Trump in White House

Partidarios del presidente Donald Trump se manifiestan en el edificio del Capitolio estatal en Lansing, Michigan, el sábado 14 de noviembre de 2020.
Paul Sancya
Partidarios del presidente Donald Trump se manifiestan en el edificio del Capitolio estatal en Lansing, Michigan, el sábado 14 de noviembre de 2020.

A group of Michigan Republicans who allegedly posed as electoral college members after the 2020 election are now facing felony charges.

Prosecutors allege the 16 people, including former state Republican Party co-chair Meshawn Maddock, tried to award the state’s electoral college votes to Donald Trump. That’s despite him losing the state by around 154,000 votes.

Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the charges Tuesday in a video. She said the defendants were trying to upend the democratic process.

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

Each defendant is facing eight counts total. That includes:

  • 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.

The longest sentence associated with the charges is 14 years.
The charges trace back to December 2020, when a group showed up outside the state capitol in Lansing attempting to submit their own electoral college votes in a memo addressed to the President of the U.S. Senate, U.S. Archivist, the Michigan Secretary of State and the chief judge of the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Michigan.

State police turned the crowd away from the Capitol, despite a handful of Republican state lawmakers being among them. Nessel said the signers of the memo eventually transmitted it to the U.S. Senate and National Archives.

“That the effort failed, and democracy prevailed does not erase the crimes of those who enacted the false electors plot to overturn the election and circumvent the will of Michigan voters,” Nessel said.

Nessel said more charges could come in the case.

The saga involving the signers of the memo has already seen them subpoenaed by the U.S. House Select committee on January 6 and one member of the group potentially facing punishment from the state’s Attorney Discipline Board.

The Attorney General’s office says there hasn’t yet been a date set for each defendant to be individually arraigned in Ingham County Court.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
Journalism at this station is made possible by donors who value local reporting. Donate today to keep stories like this one coming. It is thanks to your generosity that we can keep this content free and accessible for everyone. Thanks!