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Indictment: Trump lies about Michigan dead voters part of ‘criminal enterprise’

Former President Donald Trump and allies are facing new criminal charges in Georgia over attempts to overturn the 2020 election. (Joseph Sohm /
  • Michigan featured heavily in Georgia indictment of Donald Trump, 18 allies
  • Prosecutors allege Trump and allies used false claims of dead voters in Michigan, vote switching as part of ‘criminal enterprise’
  • This is the fourth indictment of Trump and latest in a slew of charges related to the 2020 election

LANSING — Former President Donald Trump is facing new criminal charges over failed efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, and Michigan is again heavily featured in the grand jury indictment.

The latest charges come from Fulton County, Georgia, where a grand jury late Monday indicted the former president and 18 co-defendants on a combined 41 criminal counts, including felony racketeering charges often used to prosecute members of organized crime groups. 

It's the fourth major indictment issued this year against Trump, the former president who is seeking re-election in 2024 and currently leads polls of the Republican field competing to take on Democratic President Joe Biden. 


A ‘criminal enterprise’

The 98-page indictment alleges Trump and allies who attempted to overturn the 2020 election were part of a "criminal organization" and unlawfully conspired to conduct a "criminal enterprise" in Georgia — and elsewhere. 

That includes Michigan, along with Washington D.C. and other 2020 swing states: Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Members of the criminal enterprise made "false statements to and solicitation of" state legislators and high-ranking state officials, according to the indictment, and  created and distributed false electoral college documents. 

What Trump is saying

As he did with other recent indictments, Trump lashed out against the Georgia charges on Monday night and alleged they are part of a smear campaign designed to keep him from winning back the White House in 2024. 

"Why didn’t they Indict 2.5 years ago? Because they wanted to do it right in the middle of my political campaign," Trump wrote on his Truth Social network. "Witch Hunt!"

Trump also suggested he will soon release an "irrefutable report" of election fraud in Georgia.

Where does Michigan fit in?

The Georgia indictment alleges Trump and allies committed a combined 161 "overt acts ... in furtherance of the conspiracy" to overturn the election, including 12 in or related to Michigan.

The indictment alleges: 

  • Act 5: On Nov. 20, 2020, Trump “made false statements concerning fraud” in Michigan during an Oval Office meeting with Michigan Senate Majority Mike Shirkey, House Speaker Lee Chatfield and other Michigan legislators. Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was in the meeting, and Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani joined by phone. 
  • Act 7: on Nov. 22, 2020, Giuliani “made false statements” and “solicited” Michigan legislators “to unlawfully appoint presidential electors” for Trump during a presentation before the Michigan House Oversight Committee. Fellow attorney Jenna Ellis, who also spoke at the legislative hearing, also “solicited, requested, and importuned the Michigan legislators present at the meeting to unlawfully appoint presidential electors” for Trump.
  • Act 24: On Dec. 3, 2020, Giuliani committed a felony offense of making false statements to state lawmakers in Georgia, including a claim that Dominion voting machines in Antrim County, Michigan, mistakenly recorded 6,000 votes for Biden when they were actually cast for Trump.
  • Act 33: On Dec. 6, 2020, attorney Sidney Powell entered into a written agreement with Georgia-based SullivanStrickler LLC for “the performance of computer forensic data collections and analytics on election equipment in Michigan and elsewhere.” The “unlawful breach” of election equipment in Coffee County, Georgia, was allegedly performed under this agreement. 
  • Act 43: On Dec. 8, Trump called Georgia Attorney Chris Carr and asked him “not to discourage” other states from joining a Texas lawsuit contesting election results in Michigan and other states. The U.S. Supreme Court ended up rejecting the suit. 
  • Act 46: On Dec. 9, attorney Kenneth Chesbro wrote a memo to the Trump campaign providing “detailed, state-specific instructions” for how false Trump electors would meet and cast electoral votes in Michigan and other states on Dec. 14 despite Trump's election loss. 
  • Act 56: On Dec. 10, Guiliani again committed the felony offense of false statements by telling Georgia lawmakers that Michigan had “700,000 more ballots counted than were sent out to voters” as a result of “quadruple counting ballots.”
  • Act 63: On Dec. 12, Trump campaign operative Michael Roman asked Trump campaign associates to list all GOP elector nominees, whether they had been contacted and whether they had confirmed they would attend Dec. 14 meetings.
  • Act 65: On Dec. 12, Roman instructed someone associated with the Trump campaign to distribute information about the planned false elector meetings in Michigan and other states
  • Act 91: On Dec. 21, Powell directed the CEO of SullivanStrickler LLC to send three un-indicted co-conspirators “a copy of all data” obtained from Michigan voting machines in Antrim County. 
  • Act 113: On Jan. 2, 2021, Trump committed a felony offense of making “false statements” by telling Georgia officials that “thousands of dead people” voted in Michigan
  • Act 159: On May 7, 2022: Powell falsely claimed that she “didn't have any role in really setting up” efforts to access voting machines in Coffee County, Georgia, or Antrim County, Michigan.

As with all criminal charges, allegations are not proof of a crime and the suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.

What's new?

Many of the Michigan-based allegations in the new Georgia indictment were well known, including the White House meeting between Trump and GOP legislative leaders, along with Giuliani’s testimony before the Michigan House. 

What is new, however, is the overarching allegation that the meeting and claims made in the legislative hearing were part of a coordinated national campaign that amounted to a "criminal enterprise" by Trump and his allies. 

It will be up to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to prove that — beyond a reasonable doubt. 

The Georgia indictment sheds some new light on the role pro-Trump attorney Powell and the SullivanStrickler forensics firm allegedly played in Antrim County, where Michigan attorney Matthew DePerno won a court order allowing an examination of Dominion voting machines. 

Some details about Powell hiring and paying SullivanStrickler previously emerged in a separate lawsuit over Georgia elections, including emails and depositions showing that Michigan attorney Stefanie Lambert (Junttila) was also involved in efforts to access voting machines in Georgia.

Lambert and DePerno face felony charges in Michigan on accusations they illegally tampered with other voting machines here. Neither are charged nor named in the Georgia indictment, but one of Lambert's clients is: Misty Hampton, a former election official in Coffee County, Georgia, who is accused of illegally allowing SullivanStrickler to tamper with machines there.

Mounting charges

The new Georgia charges are the latest front in what national elections expert David Becker and others have called the “summer of accountability” for Trump and allies who tried to overturn his 2020 election loss. 

In Michigan, Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel last month charged 16 “fake electors” for signing documents falsely claiming Trump had won Michigan in 2020. A special prosecutor this month announced charges against DePerno, Lambert and former state Rep. Daire Rendon in the tabulator tampering case. 

Michigan also features prominently in a federal indictment announced earlier this month by Special Prosecutor Jack Smith alleging that Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 election amounted to a "conspiracy to defraud the United States."

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