Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced charges this week against 16 people, known as the infamous “fake electors,” who all signed a certificate that falsely claimed that former President Donald Trump had actually won the state’s election in 2020.
Nessel announced on Tuesday that all 16 people were charged with various felonies. This marks the first case of the fake electors being charged with a crime related to this scheme, which was carried out in a few states in different versions.
Each of the 16 people charged will face eight felonies each. That includes forgery (two counts), conspiracy to commit forgery (one count), election law forgery (two counts) conspiracy to commit election law forgery (one count), publishing a counterfeit record (one count) and conspiring to publish a counterfeit record (one count).
Among the fake electors who were charged in Michigan are some former and current state Republican officials, a person who is currently a mayor of a town, a person who is currently a member of a local school board, a member of the Republican National Committee, and other people who support Trump and were plaintiffs in a lawsuit that attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Nessel, who is a Democrat, released a video to announce the charges this week. In it, she said:
“This plan, to reject the will of the voters and undermine democracy, was fraudulent and legally baseless.”
Initially, Nessel had referred her state’s fake electors case to the Department of Justice’s federal prosecutors. However, she re-opened the probe within Michigan in January of this year.
Jack Smith, the DOJ’s special counsel, is also investigating the plot of the fake electors, and some of these people have already testified to a grand jury that he has called.
Michigan was just one of seven different battleground states were fake electors were put forward by the Trump campaign as part of a wider plan to try to circumvent the normal process of the Electoral College. The ultimate goal was to try to disrupt the certification of the election results, which took place on January 6, 2021.
On December 14 of 2020, the 16 fake electors in Michigan met in Lansing, where they signed the certificates that proclaimed that Trump actually won Michigan, and that they were the correct electors in the state.
The group tried to enter the Michigan state house so they could deliver their papers, but police rebuffed their efforts. The real group of electors in Michigan – who are Democrats – were meeting within the state house while the fake electors tried to gain access to the building.
During the 2020 presidential election, President Joe Biden ended up winning Michigan by just more than 154,000 total votes.
CNN reported before that some officials in the Trump campaign actually oversaw these fake elector efforts, and it was apparently led by the president’s former attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
While 16 people have already been charged in Michigan, Nessel said she “has not ruled out potential charges against additional defendants.”