Sixteen Michigan supporters of former President Donald Trump are facing felony charges for their roles in Trump’s unsuccessful effort to prove that the 2020 presidential election was tainted by fraud.
On Tuesday, State Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the charges on her website, calling the 16 defendants, who range in age from 55 to 82, participants in an “alleged false electors scheme.”
The charges come on the same day Trump announced he expects to be indicted by a federal grand jury investigating the Capitol incursion and Trump’s efforts to prove there was fraud in the presidential race.
The charges were condemned on social media, with one poster noting, “Look at their ages, too. This is a monstrous injustice.”
According to Nessel’s website, all sixteen defendants face one count of Conspiracy to Commit Forgery, two counts of Forgery, one count of Conspiracy to Commit Uttering and Publishing, one count of Uttering and Publishing, one count of Conspiracy to Commit Election Law Forgery and two counts of Election Law Forgery
If convicted on all the charges, the defendants could each face 85 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,” she said.
Nessel claimed, “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.”
Nessel said the 16 people charged met in secret before signing their names on “multiple certificates stating they were the ‘duly elected and qualified electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America for the State of Michigan.’”
She said they face charges because “there was no legal authority for the false electors to purport to act as ‘duly elected presidential electors’ and execute the false electoral documents,” Nessel said, adding, “Every serious challenge to the election had been denied, dismissed or otherwise rejected by the time the false electors convened.”
Nessel said that she might add to the list of those charged.
Trump elector John Haggard, 82, of Charlevoix told the Detroit News that he had been unaware of the charges until contacted by the media.
“Did I do anything illegal? No,” Haggard said, adding no policy prevented anyone from making “a statement.”
Vance Patrick, chairman of the Oakland County Republican Party, called the charges coming more than two-and-a-half years after the election “an egregious abuse of power by a radical progressive and continues the trend of politically motivated witch hunts, perpetrated by the left against Republican candidates and activists.”
Former Michigan Republican Party Co-Chairwoman Meshawn Maddock, who was among those charged, called the charges “a personal vendetta,” according to The New York Times.
“This is part of a national coordinated” effort to stop Trump, said Maddock, who had assumed her post after the election.