Michigan Indicts 16 ‘False Electors’ for Donald Trump with Election Law and Forgery Felonies

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, announced on Tuesday that 16 Republicans who acted as “false electors” for Donald Trump in 2020 would be charged with several felonies.


Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, announced on Tuesday that 16 Republicans who acted as “false electors” for Donald Trump in 2020 would be charged with several felonies.

  • All 16 defendants will face eight criminal charges, including forgery and conspiracy to commit election forgery. The most serious crimes carry a penalty of up to fourteen years in prison.
  • The 16 Republicans are accused of submitting false certificates stating that they were the legitimate Electoral College electors for Michigan, even though Joe Biden carried the Wolverine State by a substantial margin in 2020.
  • Those charged include Republican National Committee official Kathy Berden, Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot, and Meshawn Maddock, the former co-chair of the Michigan GOP.
  • Nessel alleged the defendants conspired in the basement of the Michigan Republican Party headquarters on an “orchestrated plan” to flip Michigan’s Electoral College results from Biden to Trump that “undermined the public’s faith” in elections.
  • “They weren’t the duly elected and qualified electors, and each of the defendants knew it,” Nessel said in a video announcing the charges. “They carried out these actions with the hope and belief that the electoral votes of Michigan’s 2020 election would be awarded to the candidate of their choosing, instead of the candidate that Michigan voters actually chose.”
  • The Michigan indictments are the first charges against anyone who tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election through political means. More than 1,000 others have been charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
  • The charges come as the Michigan Republican Party, which controlled the governorship and legislature as recently as 2019 in a state Trump won in 2016, has virtually imploded after years of mismanagement. The party has a scant $93,000 in its coffers, leaving it “functionally bankrupt” only 16 months before the presidential election.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • CNN profiled the 16 defendants, who also include state party official Marian Sheridan, Wyoming, Michigan Mayor Kent Vanderwood, and Mari-Ann Henry, the treasurer of the 7th Congressional District Republican Committee.
  • The New York Times noted, “While a similar investigation in Atlanta has pulled in witnesses from across the country and has led to legal battles with Mr. Trump himself, thus far the Michigan inquiry has focused on residents of the state. It is not clear whether that will remain the case.”
  • The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake argued the charges “show how Trump’s allies played with fire.” Blake continued, “Here’s what the Michigan case reinforces about the “fake elector” plots: just how many people seemed to recognize that the plan wasn’t exactly on the up-and-up. The documents released with the indictment allege that those involved talked about how the effort was supposed to remain secret.”



  • The New York Post emphasized, “The success of the fake electors scheme – reportedly devised by Trump lawyer John Eastman – depended on former Vice President Mike Pence refusing to certify electoral votes cast for Joe Biden and instead counting groups of Trump-backing electors in battleground states.”
  • The Wall Street Journal noted alternative slates of Trump electors were also organized in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. “Several alternative electors in other states have been offered immunity, a sign that their testimony is being sought against higher-level officials.”
  • National Review observed “Nevada attorney general Aaron Ford (D.) recently declined to pursue charges against fake electors in his state” and that Nessel acted without waiting for federal law enforcement to bring charges of their own.


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© Dominic Moore, 2023