Updated Jul 18, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Michigan attorney general charges 16 fake electors in 2020 scheme

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks to protesters who oppose the City of Hamtramck's recent resolution banning the flying of LGBTQ+ flags, political flags, and flags symbolizing any race or religion on City property, at City Hall on June 24, 2023 in Hamtramck, Michigan

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks at City Hall on June 24 in Hamtramck, Michigan. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Tuesday charged 16 pro-Trump fake electors for their involvement in an alleged scheme to overturn the 2020 election.

Why it matters: They appear to be the first criminal charges issued against fake electors relating to the 2020 election.

  • Among those charged include Kathy Berden, the national committeewoman of the Republican Party of Michigan, and Meshawn Maddock, former co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party.

Driving the news: The participants in the 2020 election plot were charged with:

  • 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
  • Two counts of election law forgery.

Nessel, a Democrat, said in a news release: "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."

The big picture: The charges came hours after former President Trump announced he received a letter from special counsel Jack Smith saying he's a target of the grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

  • Attorney General Merrick Garland selected Smith to lead the Justice Department's probe into Trump's efforts to interfere with the lawful transfer of power after the 2020 election.

Go deeper: Trump legal woes heat up with prospect of Jan. 6 indictment

Editor’s note: A mobile alert sent out for this story incorrectly labeled it an Axios exclusive.

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