LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s attorney general filed felony charges Tuesday against 16 Republicans who acted as fake electors for then-President Donald Trump in 2020, accusing them of submitting false certificates confirming they were legitimate electors despite Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, announced Tuesday that all 16 people would face eight criminal charges, including forgery and conspiracy to commit election forgery, which range from a potential five to 14 years in prison each.
The group includes the head of the Republican National Committee’s chapter in Michigan, Kathy Berden, as well as the former co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party, Meshawn Maddock, and Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot.
“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,” Nessel said in a statement.
Electors are people appointed to represent voters in presidential elections. The winner of the popular vote in each state determines which party’s electors are sent to the Electoral College, which meets in December after the election to certify the outcome.
The group is alleged to have met inside the then-Michigan Republican Party headquarters on December 14, 2020, and signed their names to multiple certificates stating they were the qualified electors for Trump. These false documents were then transmitted to Congress and National Archives.
In January of last year, Nessel asked federal prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into the 16 Republicans.
In seven battleground states, including Michigan, supporters of Trump signed certificates that falsely stated he had won their states, not Biden.
The fake certificates were ignored, but the attempt has been subject to investigations, including by the House committee that investigated the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
False Electoral College certificates were also submitted declaring Trump the winner of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.