A Lawyer Breaks Down a Possible Plan for Mi’s “Fake Elector” Cases Moving Forward

A Lawyer Breaks Down a Possible Plan for Mi's Fake Elector Cases Moving Forward

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — About eight months after Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced charges against sixteen people she said were “fake electors” who gave the state’s electoral votes to Donald Trump in the 2020 election, the courts are still moving the process forward. Earlier this year, they heard from witnesses in some of those cases.

“We could tell from it that it wasn’t a real or authorized certificate of votes,” Dan Schwager, who used to work as a lawyer for the U.S. Senate secretary, told the court earlier this year. “That certificate wasn’t valid. It wasn’t real.

15 suspects are still in jail, since the charges against one of them were dropped as part of a deal with prosecutors in the office of the attorney general.

Because of the alleged plan, each person is being charged with eight felonies.

But some people still haven’t seen a preliminary review, which is what decides if a defendant goes to trial.

Based on what the judge said about the complexity and amount of evidence in the case in January, the hearing for some of the suspects was moved to later this month.

When the defendant asked for a different request to put one of their cases on hold until records from other defendants’ hearings in February could be obtained, Judge Kristen D. Simmons turned it down.

In January, Judge Simmons said, “I’m not going to take up the court’s time so that we can try. We’re already getting a lot of requests for transcripts.” “And I can already tell you that this one is something that has to be farmed out to someone to assist us because of the volume of court time that we’ve spent.”

In April, basic tests will be given to the following defendants:

  • Clifford Frost 
  • Rose Rook
  • Kenneth Thompson
  • Maya Rodriguez
  • William Choate
  • Marian Sheridan
  • Kent Vanderwood
  • Stanley Grot

But if Donald Trump, the past president, runs for office again, he or she won’t be able to pardon people who have been convicted of state crimes. In these kinds of cases, why might the defense want to take even more time?

We talked to a lawyer about that question to get their opinion.

“Like any other defense where you’re talking about [an alleged] conspiracy, where you’re talking about people engaging in that conspiracy, they want to get as much discovery as they possibly can before they are required to go to the preliminary hearing stage,” said Jeffrey Swartz of Cooley Law School.

Based on what has been seen so far, Swartz said that if the suspects do go to trial, it will probably be a few more months before the proceedings start.

“Absent some sort of intervening fact, you’re probably looking at six, eight months before you go to trial after the preliminary hearing,” said Swartz.

But the next presidential election could make these cases less important, so Swartz said that if they go to trial and the courts don’t want to try them during the election, that could change the schedule even more.

“If it’s not tried within, I would say the next five months or so, you’re probably looking at after the November election,” said Swartz.

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