Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) said Tuesday that there is “absolutely” enough evidence to charge a group of Republicans with election fraud for falsely claiming to be the state’s electors during the last presidential election.
Nessel has yet to pursue charges against the 16 Republicans, instead referring the investigation to federal prosecutors for jurisdictional reasons, she said according to The Detroit News. Nessel did not rule out pursuing charges against the Republicans in the future.
“Seemingly there’s a conspiracy that occurred between multiple states. So if what your ultimate goal is, is not just to prosecute these 16 individuals, but to find out who put them up to this, is this part of a bigger conspiracy at play in order to undermine the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election, not just in Michigan but nationally? … It creates jurisdictional issues,” Nessel said during a press conference, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“I feel confident we have enough evidence to charge if we decide to pursue that. Again, I want to make it clear, I haven’t ruled it out. But for all the reasons I stated, I think that it’s a better idea for the feds to pursue this,” she said.
The Michigan Republican Party slammed Nessel after the press briefing, accusing the Democrat of “playing political games.”
“Dana Nessel is playing political games with people’s lives and livelihoods for the sake of scoring political points ahead of an election,” GOP spokesman Gustavo Portela said in a statement.
On December 14, 2020, a group of 16 Democratic presidential electors met in the state Capitol to certify themselves as Michigan’s electors to cast votes in the 2020 presidential election. At the same time, a group of Republicans, including Michigan Republican Party Co-Chairwoman Meshawn Maddock and Republican National Committeewoman for Michigan Kathy Berden, met at the Michigan GOP’s headquarters to sign a certificate declaring themselves to be Michigan’s electors.
President Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump in Michigan to win the state’s 16 electoral votes. Biden won the state with roughly 150,000 votes more than Trump.
The group of Republicans sent their certificate claiming to be “duly elected and qualified electors” to the National Archives. Republicans in several other states, such as Arizona and Pennsylvania, also signed up alternate groups up electors as Republicans voiced concerns over election security and a number of election law changes adopted across some states because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Republicans in Washington pushed for an emergency audit of the elections in states with competing slates of electors. As The Daily Wire reported at the time:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and 10 other GOP senators have signed a letter announcing they will vote “to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’” until a 10-day emergency audit can be conducted in those states.
“We do not take this action lightly. We are acting not to thwart the democratic process, but rather to protect it,” Cruz wrote in the letter, which was released Saturday.
The letter states that the 2020 election “featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities,” which exceed previous elections and must be investigated fully.
The Senate certified the election for President Joe Biden early in the morning on January 7 after a riot in the Capitol building by pro-Trump protesters.