LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is asking federal prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into 16 Republicans who submitted fake certificates showing they were the state’s presidential voters despite Joe Biden winning by 154,000 votes in 2020.
Nessel, who is a Democrat, revealed Thursday that his office had been evaluating the charges for nearly a year, but decided to refer the case to the U.S. Attorney for West Michigan.
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“Under state law, I clearly think you have tampering with a public record, which is a 14-year offense, and tampering with election law, which is a five-year offense,” she told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. But the Justice Department, she said, is in the best position to investigate and potentially prosecute.
The U.S. attorney’s office did not immediately respond to an Associated Press email seeking comment early Friday.
Nessel alleged a “coordinated effort” among Republican parties in several battleground states, including Michigan, to push so-called alternative voters lists with fake documents. She said she wanted federal authorities to do an assessment for possible charges.
“Obviously it’s part of a much larger conspiracy,” she said.
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On January 8, 2021, the Office of the Federal Register — which coordinates certain Electoral College functions between states and Congress — informed Michigan Chief Electoral Officer and Governor Chief Counsel Gretchen Whitmer in an email that he had received unofficial, signed certificates from the GOP. “voters” who had not been nominated by the Democratic governor.
The Michigan GOP did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment early Friday.
Last month, Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office turned the email over to a US House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
When Michigan voters voted 16 times for Biden in December 2020 after his victory was certified by 2.8 percentage points, a separate group that included Republican members of the State House attempted to enter the Capitol. of the state with Donald Trump’s Electoral College candidates. They were turned back by the national police.
The invalid certificates were also mailed to the US Senate, Benson and West Michigan federal court, according to a memo written by a GOP official. Two Republicans did not sign the documents and were replaced.
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