Earlier this week the public got a look at forged documents that Republican groups in several states sent to the government declaring then-President Donald Trump the winner of their state’s electors. Now, the attorney general in one of those states is asking federal prosecutors to open a criminal investigation.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday that her office had been considering whether to bring charges for about a year.
“Under state law, I think clearly you have forgery of a public record, which is a 14-year offense, and election law forgery, which is a five-year offense,” Nessel said. Ultimately, though, she opted to refer the case to the U.S. attorney in western Michigan, alleging a “coordinated effort” by Republicans in other states who tried to pull off the same fraudulent scheme. “Obviously this is part of a much bigger conspiracy,” she said.
BREAKING: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says the investigation into the submission of a false slate of electors in the 2020 election has been referred to federal prosecutors. "We think this is a matter that is best investigated and potentially prosecuted by the feds." pic.twitter.com/cTSxTK1ZG2
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 14, 2022
The Michigan documents, obtained through a public records request by watchdog group American Oversight, show 16 Republicans claiming to be that state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors. In a brazen attempt to thwart the democratic process, each of the so-called electors cast their votes for Trump, who lost Michigan by 154,000 votes.
The forgeries in Michigan and at least four other states were cited in a post-election memo by conservative lawyer John Eastman, who argued that former Vice President Mike Pence could simply toss out legitimate electors in states that allegedly had a competing slate of electors. The forgeries were also referenced in a draft letter by former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark that encouraged Georgia state officials to appoint new electors to overturn that state’s election results.
The Jan. 6. committee, which is looking into Trump’s attempts influence election workers and public officials in key swing states to override the will of the voters, has received “thousands” of relevant records. It may make its findings public this spring, according to Politico.