Aug 3, 2023 - Politics

Michigan lawmakers, Detroit play major role in charges against Trump

Trump and Matt DePerno

Former President Trump and former attorney general candidate Matt DePerno during a 2022 rally near Washington, Michigan. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty

Former President Trump's false claims of voter fraud in Detroit and his allies' efforts to overturn Michigan's election results in 2020 play a major role in the federal indictment unsealed Tuesday.

Why it matters: The actions of the former president and his allies, particularly in Michigan, were "integral to his criminal plans to defeat the federal government function, obstruct the certification, and interfere with others' right to vote and have their votes counted," the indictment alleges.

  • The only state mentioned more than Michigan in the indictment is Georgia.

Driving the news: The indictment accuses Trump of knowingly making false statements about voter fraud in multiple states that never happened in a failed attempt to overturn his loss in 2020.

What they're saying: The indictment claims Trump's attorney general, William Barr, told him there "was no indication of fraud in Detroit" — but that didn't stop the former president from repeating his claim the next day.

  • "It's corrupt," Trump said on Dec. 2. "Detroit is corrupt. I have a lot of friends in Detroit. They know it. But Detroit is totally corrupt."
  • The indictment also alleges an unnamed co-conspirator texted Michigan's Republican legislative leaders in December to urge them to file a joint resolution claiming the election is disputed.

Catch up quick: This is the third criminal case against the embattled former president, who's facing separate federal charges related to hush money payments and mishandling documents.

Meanwhile, some of Trump's allies in Michigan are also facing charges. The probe into the alleged voting machine tampering by a group of 2020 election deniers resulted in felony charges Tuesday against former attorney general candidate Matt DePerno and former state Rep. Daire Rendon.

  • The charges, first reported by the Detroit News, include conspiracy to commit undue possession of a voting machine and willfully damaging a voting machine.
  • Special prosecutor DJ Hilson said in a statement that the "process is still ongoing and not over."

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