LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Attorney General’s office is asking that a special prosecutor investigate whether the Republican candidate for state attorney general and others should be charged in connection with an effort to gain access to voting machines after the 2020 election, according to published reports.
The Detroit News reported Sunday that Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office has asked that the Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council, a state agency, appoint a special prosecutor to consider charges against nine people, including Republican attorney general candidate Matt DePerno, state Rep. Daire Rendon of Lake City and Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf.
The newspaper reported that the details of allegations were made in a letter sent Friday by Nessel’s chief deputy attorney general, Christina Grossi, to Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
They involved convincing local clerks to hand over voting tabulators, breaking into them and performing “tests,” according to the letter.
The request for a special prosecutor was made because of the potential conflict of interest since Nessel likely will face DePerno in the November election.
DePerno, a lawyer, has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. The political newcomer supports Trump’s false claims about his 2020 loss in the swing state to President Joe Biden. DePerno was endorsed by Michigan Republicans at their state convention in April. He will be officially nominated at a second convention later this month, but that was considered a formality.
“Dana Nessel knows she is losing this race,” DePerno’s campaign manager, Tyson Shepard, said in a statement Sunday night, The News reported. “She is desperate to win this election at all costs and is now targeting DePerno, her political opponent. Her actions are unethical and will further demonstrate to the voters that she is unfit for office.”
Five tabulators were taken from Roscommon and Missaukee counties in northern Michigan, and Barry County in western Michigan, according to the petition, which further states that Ben Cotton, Jeff Lenberg, Douglas Logan and James Penrose “broke into the tabulators and performed ‘tests’ on the equipment.”
Cotton, Lenberg, Logan and Penrose have all been involved in efforts to question the 2020 election. Cotton, Lenberg and Penrose were cited as experts by DePerno in a lawsuit involving Antrim County, The News reported.
Logan is the founder of Cyber Ninjas. He was involved in an audit of results in Maricopa County, Arizona.
The News said Leaf didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday and Rendon couldn’t be reached.
Obtaining undue possession of a voting machine used in an election is a felony punishable by five years in prison, the newspaper reported.
Following the AG’s announcement, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson released her own statement reagrding the matter.
There must be consequences for those who broke the law to undermine our elections in order to advance their own political agendas. I’m thankful to Attorney General Nessel for conducting this investigation into the tampering of our secure voting machines and referring the case for prosecution. The republican, democratic and nonpartisan election clerks of this state do their jobs with professionalism and integrity, and we will continue to ensure they are equipped with a full understanding of the legal protections in place to block bad actors from pressuring them to gain access to secure election systems.”Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson