Sixteen Trump supporters from Michigan have been charged with felonies for their roles as alternate electors in the 2020 election, the state's Democratic attorney general Dana Nessel said Tuesday.
The defendants were charged with forgery and conspiracy for signing documents stating that Trump won the state of Michigan, which Biden carried by about 150,000 votes.
This is the first time that any of Trump's supporters have been charged in the so-called "fake electors scheme," which has received breathless coverage from mainstream anti-Trump media.
The Michigan "fake electors" are mostly seniors, and they face up to 14 years in jail on the most serious charges.
The optics here are obviously quite troubling, but it appears Democrats are showing no mercy as they seek to hold Trump "accountable" for "the big lie."
Trump allies in a number of states formed alternate slates of electors to contest Biden's victory in 2020. Democrats have argued these efforts were criminal, but the use of alternate electors is not without precedent, as Trump allies have pointed out, citing a similar effort in Hawaii by JFK in 1960.
But Nessel, a passionate ideologue who wears her partisan agenda on her sleeve, said the "fake electors" in her state committed crimes against "democracy."
“Every serious challenge to the election had been denied, dismissed, or otherwise rejected by the time the false electors convened. There was no legitimate legal avenue or plausible use of such a document or an alternative slate of electors," she said.
Some of the "fake electors" are connected with Michigan's Republican party, including its former co-chair, Meshawn Maddock. Republicans have ripped the charges as a political attack from an attorney general drunk on power.
"We didn’t do anything wrong. We know we didn’t do anything wrong. We’re not fake electors. I was a duly elected Trump elector. There was no forgery involved," Maddock said.
"I think the thing that’s the most upsetting for me is that Dana Nessel is really using her office as a weapon against the citizens," she added.
Nessel announced the charges on the same day that Trump said he expects to be indicted in Jack Smith's January 6th probe, which is also looking into "fake electors."
This all amounts to an unprecedented effort to interfere with the 2024 presidential election on Biden's behalf - by arresting his top opponent and his supporters. Nothing like this has ever happened in American history, and it is totally wrong.