Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, is reportedly exploring whether Michigan legislators who oppose certification of the Michigan election results or speak with President Donald Trump regarding the issue could be criminally charged.
“Michigan’s attorney general is exploring whether officials there risk committing crimes if they bend to President Trump’s wishes in seeking to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in their state, according to two people familiar with the review,” The Washington Post reported, adding, “The attorney general is conferring with election law experts on whether officials may have violated any state laws prohibiting them from engaging in bribery, perjury and conspiracy, according to people familiar with the deliberations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter.”
George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley noted, “When Democrats like Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Cal.) challenged the certification of Ohio’s electoral votes in 2004, no one suggested criminal investigations. Nessel is threatening state legislators that, if they meet to discuss such objections, they might be targets of criminal investigations. That would seem an effort to use the criminal code for the purposes of intimidation or coercion.”
Michigan AG Nessel and others are suggesting that Republicans who oppose certification or even meet with President Trump on the issue could be criminally investigated or charged. Once again, the media is silent on this abusive use of the criminal code. https://t.co/IlEQ3roKsE
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) November 21, 2020
“This is the kind of idiocy percolating on the left even as they accuse Republicans of destroying democracy by allowing legal challenges to pay out. In reality, nothing is going to happen here, but suggesting this is bad enough,” RedState wrote. “Trump has no bribed anyone from Michigan, nor are any state officials who met with Trump guilty of engaged in such activity. That the chief ‘law enforcement’ official in the state would explore such nonsense shows how politically compromised she is.”
“Imagine if this was U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr threatening Democratic legislators with possible criminal investigation for challenging Trump votes,” Turley conjectured. “The media would be apoplectic. Yet, when used against Republicans, major publications and politicians are celebrated for the use of the criminal code for such politically motivated threats.”
On November 11, Nessel claimed that the Trump campaign’s multiple lawsuits in the state of Michigan vis-à-vis purported election fraud were based on racist assumptions about black people.
Nessel said, “Really the themes that we see, that persist, are this: Black people are corrupt, Black people are incompetent and Black people can’t be trusted. That’s the narrative that is continually espoused by the Trump campaign and their allies in these lawsuits,” according to The Detroit Free Press.
Nessel said that the lawsuits centered on Detroit, which has a majority black population, rather than Oakland and Kent counties, whose majorities are white. She claimed that Trump’s claims of election misconduct were “demonstrably false.”
Nessel accused the Trump campaign of “forum shopping,” i.e. looking for courts disposed toward their point of view. “The federal lawsuit, filed in the Western District of the state, focuses primarily on allegations involving Detroit. Lansing, the seat of government, is located in the Western District of the state,” The Detroit Free Press noted.
Nessel said, “In my view, this is really a brazen case of forum shopping,” adding, “I will add that forum shopping and judge shopping are my least two favorite shopping seasons.” She said that if she attempted a similar action “this baseless and this frivolous, I would be sanctioned and I would likely be looking at a loss of licensure.”