As probes into the aftermath of the 2020 election continue apace, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel this week lodged felony charges against 16 individuals she accuses of acting as “fake” electors on behalf of then-President Donald Trump, as the Associated Press reports.
According to the outlet those indicted include Kathy Berden, who heads the state chapter of the Republican National Committee; Meshawn Maddock, former Michigan Republican Party co-chair; and Stan Grot, Shelby Township Clerk.
The charges lodged by Nessel relate to the creation of alternative slates of electors, including in Michigan, something which was done to establish a viable route for legal recourse for Republicans if the results of the election respective jurisdictions had ultimately been overturned.
As Breitbart noted, there had been concern among many supporters of the former president that if the Electoral College votes cast by Michigan in favor of then-candidate Joe Biden were invalidated, either judicially or legislatively, Trump would not receive the votes in the end unless a slate of alternate electors was not standing by at the ready.
As a result, however, those now facing criminal charges are accused of unlawfully signing certificates stating that Trump prevailed in Michigan and that they were the “duly elected and qualified electors for the president and vice president of the United State of America and for the State of Michigan.”
Those certificates were, according to Nessel, then “transmitted to the United States Senate and National Archives in a coordinated effort to award the state's electoral votes to the candidate of their choosing, in place of the candidates actually elected by the people of Michigan.”
A press release issued by Nessel's office announcing the indictments declared, “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.”
“My department has prosecuted numerous cases of election law violations throughout my tenure, and it would be malfeasance of the greatest magnitude if my department failed to act here in the face of overwhelming evidence of an organized effort to circumvent the lawfully cast ballots of millions of Michigan voters in a presidential election,” Nessel added.
The statement went on, “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. Every serious challenge to the election had been denied, dismissed, or otherwise rejected by the time the false electors convened. There was no legitimate legal avenue or plausible use of such a document or an alternative slate of electors.”
“There was only the desperate effort of these defendants, who we have charged with deliberately attempting to interfere with and overturn our free and fair election process, and along with it, the will of millions of American voters. That the effort failed, and democracy prevailed does not erase the crimes of those who enacted the false electors plot,” Nessel further asserted.
All 16 defendants have been charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit forgery, two counts of forgery, a count of conspiracy to commit uttering and publishing, a count of uttering and publishing, a count of conspiracy to commit election law forgery, and two counts of election law forgery, with the counts bringing penalties that span between five and 14 years in prison.
Nessel, known as a highly partisan liberal Democrat who once infamously recommended having “a drag queen for every school,” has brought charges against these 16 Michigan residents for engaging in conduct that is reportedly strikingly similar to actions taken in the 1960 presidential election on behalf of then-candidate John F. Kennedy in Hawaii, as Breitbart's John Nolte points out, citing a piece from Politico.
In that case, a state court found that the alternative slate of Democrat electors was simply taking “a key step that preserved their ability to be counted,” though the dispute did not require further litigation, given that a recount handed the state to Kennedy anyway.
Even so, it appears that the current “fake electors” arguments are playing a substantial role in Special Counsel Jack Smith's ongoing probe of Trump's activities in the aftermath of the 2020 election, which is now thought to be leading toward his imminent indictment. Whether Nessel will prevail once these defendants have their day in court, though, only time will tell.