LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Three of 16 people charged in alleged false elector scheme appeared in a virtual court hearing Friday.
A West Michigan mayor and former co-chair of the state’s Republican Party virtually sat before Lansing judges Friday morning.
The two Republicans were joined by a Brighton woman who is also facing eight felony charges.
Last month, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel called the case an attempt to interfere with, or overturn, the 2020 election.
“They carried out these actions with the hope and the belief that the electoral votes of Michigan’s 2020 election would be awarded to the candidate of their choosing, instead of the candidate that the voters of Michigan actually chose,” Nessel said.
Nessel charged the 16 people with eight counts, including forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery.
On Friday, Wyoming Mayor Kent Vanderwood, former Michigan GOP Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock and Brighton resident Mary-Ann Henry.
The state prosecutor says they are part of the group that secretly met and signed documents saying they were Michigan’s electors in the 2020 election.
Vanderwood’s attorney Brian Lennon said in a statement that prosecutors cannot prove an “intent to defraud.”
“We fully expect that the weakness of the prosecution’s case will begin to be exposed at the preliminary hearing, and in the end, Mr. Vanderwood will be fully vindicated,” Lennon said.
Henry’s attorney George Brown claims the state’s case against her is “spurious and unsupported by the facts.”
Earlier this week, William “Hank” Choate of Cement City pleaded not guilty, according to his attorney David Kallman, who spoke with 6 News on Tuesday.
“You have to specifically show our client intended to injury or harm someone — number one. And number two: that he intended to sign a forged document or something that was forged or something like that. Neither of those things are true,” Kallman said.
Kallman says Nessel is going after “political opponents” with this case and calls it a “weaponization” of her office.
Maddock and Henry’s next hearings were moved to October to allow attorneys to review evidence.