Michigan GOP officials defend Trump electors as court dates set
- GOP officials and activists come to defense of 16 Trump electors facing felony charges
- Rep. Josh Shriver calls Attorney General Dana Nessel a ‘thug’
- All 16 are scheduled for Aug. 10 arraignments in Lansing’s 54-A District Court
Michigan Republican Party activists and elected officials are publicly defending the 16 Donald Trump supporters facing felony charges for filling out paperwork falsely claiming the former president won Michigan’s electoral votes in the 2020 election.
During a Wednesday night media conference led by Macomb County Republican Party Chair Mark Forton, several decried Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s decision to press charges, with state Rep. Josh Shriver, R-Oxford, calling her a “thug.”
“I stand with America's patriots,” Shriver said, adding, “seeking peaceful legal remedies is not a crime.”
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The group also read a prepared statement from U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Bruce Township, who called the charges “political theater at its worst” and accused Nessel of making it “a criminal offense to be Republican.”
The 16 defendants are accused of falsely filling out paperwork that asserted Trump won Michigan, even though Democrat Joe Biden won by 154,188 votes. The document purported to be an official certificate awarding the state’s presidential electors to Trump in what Nessel said was an attempt to keep him in the White House.
In a statement, Nessel, a Democrat, said their 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.”
The 16 Trump electors facing felony charges
- Kathy Berden, 70, of Snover
- William (Hank) Choate, 72, of Cement City
- Amy Facchinello, 55, of Grand Blanc
- Clifford Frost, 75, of Warren
- Stanley Grot, 71, of Shelby Township
- John Haggard, 82, of Charlevoix
- Mari-Ann Henry, 65, of Brighton
- Timothy King, 56, of Ypsilanti
- Michele Lundgren, 73, of Detroit
- Meshawn Maddock, 55, of Milford
- James Renner, 76, of Lansing
- Mayra Rodriguez, 64, of Grosse Pointe Farms
- Rose Rook, 81, of Paw Paw
- Marian Sheridan, 69, of West Bloomfield
- Ken Thompson, 68, of Orleans
- Kent Vanderwood, 69, of Wyoming
“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 continued.
Among those charged are Meshawn Maddock, former co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party; Kathy Berden, Michigan's Republican national committeewoman; Shelby Township Clerk Stanley Grot and Wyoming Mayor Kent Vanderwood.
Grot and Vanderwood, both elected officials, have faced calls to step aside from their duties or resign. According to the Associated Press, the Michigan Bureau of Elections recently notified Grot that he will be barred from administering elections while charges are pending.
Each defendant faces eight felony counts including ranging from conspiracy and election law forgery to forgery and uttering and publishing. Most of the charges are punishable by up to 14 years in prison, while others are five-year felonies.
All 16 are currently scheduled for Aug. 10 arraignment dates in Lansing’s 54-A District Court and have been given notice to appear, court records show.
Maddock — a conservative activist in Michigan whose husband, Rep. Matt Maddock, is a state legislator — is openly criticizing the charges and claims she did nothing wrong.
In an interview with conservative talk show host Steve Gruber, Maddock said their Dec. 14, 2020, meeting was never a secret, noting, “we showed up when we were asked to and signed the paperwork.”
She accused Nessel in the interview of working with federal investigators to dismantle Trump’s current presidential campaign by “prosecuting and jailing all of his top leaders.”
"The Democrats know that they cannot beat Trump in 2024, so they have to use lawfare," she said in the interview.
Prior to the GOP press conference, the state party issued a full-throated defense of the 16 defendants, calling them “victimized” targets in a statement. The party “will closely monitor the situation and deploy activists as needed to ensure we are doing right by God and delivering freedom to future generations,” the statement read.
Democratic officials, including Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes, applauded Nessel for taking steps to charge those involved in efforts to undermine Michigan election results.
“We are so proud to have an attorney general that is using all measures at her disposal to carry out a transparent, detailed process to ensure that MAGA Republicans are held accountable for their unlawful, un-American, actions,” Barnes said.
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