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16 Michigan Republicans charged for their role in the 2020 fake elector scheme

The fake electors tried to overturn the will of Michigan voters by electing Donald Trump president, even though he lost.

By Emily Singer - July 19, 2023
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President Donald Trump arrives to speak during a rally protesting the electoral college certification of Joe Biden as President in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021. Members of the House committee investigating the events of Jan. 6 will hold their first prime time hearing Thursday, Jan. 9, to share what they have uncovered about former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, culminating in the deadly storming of the Capitol building. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
FILE - President Donald Trump arrives to speak during a rally protesting the electoral college certification of Joe Biden as President in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Tuesday announced that her office had filed a raft of charges against the 16 Michigan Republicans who acted as fake Electoral College electors in 2020 in an effort to block Joe Biden from becoming president.

Each of the 16 was charged with eight criminal counts of forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

“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 news release. “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.”

These are the first charges brought against those involved in the fake elector scheme, which Republicans across the country organized to overturn Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election in their states and install former President Donald Trump as president. In all, 84 people in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — all states Biden won in 2020 — signed documents in which they falsely claimed to be the “duly elected electors.”

Many of the Michigan electors are well-connected in the state; some hold elected office or positions of power in the state party.

Here is a look at the 16 people charged in the Michigan fake elector plot. All but three would have served as legitimate electors had Trump won Michigan.

  • Kathleen Berden: Berden is an ally of Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee; Berden helped McDaniel secure votes to win reelection as RNC chair, according to a report from the investigative outlet ProPublica. McDaniel defended Berden, who had been subpoenaed by the January 6th Select Committee in the House that probed the violent attack at the Capitol.
  • William “Hank” Choate: Choate is a dairy farmer who was invited to the White House in 2017 to discuss agriculture with then-President Trump. 
  • Amy Facchinello: Facchinello is a former vice chair of the Genesee County Republican Party and a current member of the Grand Blanc, Michigan, school board. She has promoted the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory that Trump was going to rid the government of a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophile Democrats.
  • Clifford Frost Jr.: Frost ran a failed campaign for the Michigan House of Representatives in 2020. According to the Detroit Free Press, Frost is a member of the Michigan Republican Party State Committee and on the board of the Macomb County GOP.
  • Stanley Grot: Grot served as the chair of the 10th Congressional District Republican Committee and currently serves as the clerk of Shelby Township. He had announced a bid to be Michigan secretary of state in 2018, but ended his candidacy before the election, the Detroit Free Press reported.
  • John Haggard: Haggard served as an elector for Trump in 2016, when Trump narrowly carried Michigan by roughly 11,000 votes out of more than 4.5 million cast. He was also one of the plaintiffs in a failed lawsuit to overturn Michigan’s 2020 election results. A judge threw out the lawsuit, and a federal judge later sanctioned the lawyers who had argued what he called a frivolous case.
  • Mari-Ann Henry: Henry is the treasurer of the 7th Congressional District Republican Committee.
  • Timothy King: As of November 2020, King was a member of the Washtenaw County Republican Party executive committee, according to the Detroit Press. Along with Haggard, King was one of the plaintiffs in a failed lawsuit to overturn the results of Michigan’s 2020 election.
  • Michele Lundgren: Lundgren ran for the Michigan House of Representatives in 2022, but lost in a landslide, garnering only 8% in the general election. After she was subpoenaed by the House Jan. 6 Select Committee, she claimed to ClickOnDetroit.com that she “didn’t even know what an elector was, let alone a fake elector.”
  • Meeshawn Maddock: Maddock is a former co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party. She used misogynistic language in attacking Nessel’s investigation into the fake elector scheme earlier this year. “I never expected that modern political witch hunts would be led by literal witches,” Maddock told Bridge Michigan in January.
  • James Renner: Renner was not one of the Republicans who would have been a legitimate elector had Trump won Michigan. According to testimony from former Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox given to the Jan. 6 Select Committee, some electors had refused to be fake electors because they were “uncomfortable” with the plot.
  • Mayra Rodriguez: Rodriguez, a lawyer, is facing a complaint from Michigan’s Attorney Discipline Board over her role as a fake elector.
  • Rose Rook: Rook is the former chair of the Van Buren County GOP, and as of November 2020 was the president of the Van Buren County Republican Women’s Club, according to the Detroit Free Press.
  • Marian Sheridan: Sheridan serves as the grassroots vice chair of the Michigan Republican Party. Along with Haggard and King, Sheridan was one of the plaintiffs in the failed lawsuit to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Sheridan was also a plaintiff in a case that sought to block the state from accepting absentee ballots after 8 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Kenneth Thompson: Thompson was not on the list of legitimate Republican electors had Trump won Michigan. 
  • Kent Vanderwood: Vanderwood is the mayor of Wyoming, Michigan.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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