Federal judge won’t intervene in Michigan fake elector case ⋆

A federal judge in Michigan shot down a request this week to intervene in the case the Michigan Attorney General’s Office brought against a group of former President Donald Trump supporters for submitting false state electoral votes for the Republican in the 2020 election. 

Dana Nessel | Ken Coleman

One of the 15 defendants, Clifford Frost of Warren, filed in November a complaint against Attorney General Dana Nessel and his defense has implored U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker to get involved. The defense said in a filing this week that the defendants did not commit any criminal offenses and Nessel is acting in “bad faith” if the prosecution continues. 

Similar arguments have been made by several of the lawyers representing different defendants, which the prosecution says willfully tried to subvert the integrity of the election process by falsely submitting documents saying they were the state’s rightful electors. There have been arguments that many in the group didn’t know what they were signing or they signed the documents as a form of political protest.

Jonker addressed the points Frost’s defense made, saying in an order Thursday there isn’t a credible reason for the persecution to be impeded at this time. Although the defense has “raised multiple issues that a court will have to address and resolve on the merits … this is by no means enough to establish the bad faith prosecution exception,” Jonker said.

One point in particular that members of the defense have used to try and throw out the case in state court is a video of Nessel, a Democrat, talking at a virtual event in September about the group of charged Republicans.

“These are people who have been brainwashed,” Nessel said in the video. “They legit believe that … somebody can’t even plead guilty if they wanted to because they can’t admit that what they did violated the law because they still think they’re right.”

Frost’s defense asserts that if prosecution asserts that the group was “brainwashed” then the eight felony charges each member of the group faces, which include forgery charges, don’t hold up.

One of Frost’s attorneys, Kevin Kijewski, argued back in October that the group was acting in political protest and no crime actually happened.

16 Michigan Republicans charged with felonies in 2020 fake elector scheme 

“They signed their own names. This is a political protest. … It is legally impossible, absolutely impossible for these folks who have committed a crime with the facts being alleged,” Kijewski said.

After the judge declined multiple motions brought by defendants, Kijewski told reporters outside of court that Frost’s team would be pursuing other legal avenues to contest the case.

In anticipation of Frost’s and other defendants’ preliminary exam scheduled for the end of January, Kijewski said in October there was evidence he still wanted to review and other motions that could be filed, but ultimately it’s apparent by what the attorney general said in the video that the criminal intent needed to make the charges isn’t there by her own admission.

“What the attorney general did by saying the specific intent effectively is not there. That means to me and almost everyone else, ‘Well, you should not even be bringing forward these charges.’ I mean, we’re governed by the rule of law. We have the attorney general of the state of Michigan, the chief law enforcement officer, and I would expect just like anyone else — Republican, Democrat, independent — that everyone gets a fair shake,” Kijewski said.

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authored by Anna Liz Nichols
First published at https%3A%2F%2Fmichiganadvance.com%2F2024%2F01%2F19%2Ffederal-judge-wont-intervene-in-michigan-fake-elector-case%2F

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