- Michigan’s fake GOP electors surrendered their phones to avoid being recorded during a 2020 meeting.
- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged 16 people in the plot to overturn the election.
- They face general forgery counts and election law forgery allegations.
On December 14, 2020, a group of 16 Democratic electors in Michigan met in the state capitol and confirmed Joe Biden’s victory in the state’s presidential election.
Republican officials had other plans.
According to a charging document filed to court Tuesday, 16 Republican electors met in the basement of their party headquarters in the swing state’s capital of Lansing. They signed fake documents claiming that then-President Donald Trump won the state, even though in reality he lost by more than 150,000 votes.
These 16 fake electors, charging documents say, took extra steps to keep their plot secret.
Two Michigan GOP staffers told investigators they stood guard at the entrance of the building in Lansing during the meeting, allowing only the “Republican candidates for electors” inside. The two staffers said they denied entry to a film crew on site, as well as the lawmaker husband of one of the fake electors charged on Tuesday, Michigan Republican Party co-Chairwoman Meshawn Maddock.
The fake electors were told no recording equipment was allowed inside the building and they were asked to surrender their cell phones to safeguard against possible recording, prosecutors said. The cell phones were put in a box and kept away from the electors as they met, according to charging documents.
The Tuesday indictments, announced by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, mark the first state charges against Trump supporters who sought to overturn the 2020 election results — or “fake electors,” as they’ve come to be known in the aftermath of President Joe Biden’s win.
They illustrate how the conspiracy to keep Trump in power was escalated to some of the highest reaches of the Republican party. The meeting, prosecutors say, was arranged by Michigan GOP Chairperson Laura Cox and the Republican National Committee.
All 16 people charged on Tuesday face general forgery counts and election law forgery allegations.
Some of the fake electors expressed frustration about how other fake electors were talking about the fake transmission of votes to Congress, according to charging documents.
One of the defendants, Kathleen Berden, texted her complaints to John Haggard, another fake elector, about fake elector Mashawn Maddock’s post about the process on Facebook.
“I see Meshawn posted on facebook even though we were all asked to keep silent as to not draw attention to what the other states were doing similar to ours!” Berden wrote in a text message obtained by prosecutors.
“I am not a big fan in facebook or have a computer at home. Was she not told at the meeting to keep quite [sic],” Haggard complained in response, according to prosecutors.