Two individuals charged with acting as fake electors are using Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s comments in a bid to get their case dropped
Attorneys for two Michigan GOP operatives charged with participating in a “fake electors” scheme to undermine the results of the 2020 election are arguing that prosecutors’ statements calling them “brainwashed” should be grounds for dismissal of the charges against them.
Mari-Ann Henry and Clifford Frost, two of 16 individuals indicted in connection with the fake electors scheme, requested the cases against them be dropped. Each argued that comments by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel describing the defendants as having been “brainwashed” into believing former President Donald Trump had won the election, constituted an admission that the defendants lacked malicious intent. CNN first obtained a recording of Nessel’s comments.
Attorneys for Henry wrote that “convictions would require proof that [Henry] intended by her actions to defraud,” the state and that the state now claims that Henry “believed Donald Trump won the election. If she had that belief, [her] alleged actions could not have been performed with the intent to cheat or deceive anyone.”
Frost’s attorney made similar arguments, adding that if Nessel believes that the defendants “legit believe” Trump won the election, then Frost “did not possess the specific criminal intent to cheat nor deceive as required by the statues.”
In July, Nessel charged the 16 defendants, which include Michigan’s Republican National Committeewoman Kathy Berden and state GOP Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock, with offenses related to forgery, election law forgery, and conspiracy to commit forgery, among others. Prosecutors allege that the defendants attended a meeting during which some of them signed certificates falsely attesting that they were the state’s duly elected Electoral College voters. Those false documents made their way to Washington, D.C., as a failed, last-ditch bid to have Mike Pence subvert the Senate’s certification of the Electoral College vote.
Nessel’s comments could severely undermine the prosecution’s case against those indicted in the scheme, and more hearings on the case are expected next month.