Trump allies in Michigan charged with felonies involving voting machines, illegal ‘testing’

Prosecutors announced Tuesday that two Michigan allies of the former President Donald Trump – including a former Republican candidate for state attorney general – were charged with attempting to access and tamper illegally with voting machines after the 2020 elections.

Special prosecutor D.J. Hilson released a press release. Richard Lynch, court administrator of the 6th Circuit in Oakland County, said that both were arraigned on Tuesday afternoon.

Michigan is one of three states in which prosecutors claim that people hacked into election systems and spread Trump’s falsehood about the 2020 election.

DePerno was arraigned on Tuesday. His lawyer, however, said that DePerno “categorically denied any wrongdoing.” He also stated that DePerno “looks to the day when his innocence will finally be proven in a legal court.”

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On Tuesday, a phone message was left with an attorney listed as Rendon’s lawyer in court documents.

DePerno, Rendon and nine other people have been named by the Attorney General’s Office as being involved in this scheme. Hilson responded in an email when asked if the investigation was still ongoing. “There are more people to be charged, but not related to those currently charged.”

Hilson is considering whether to file charges since September. According to court documents, he convened a Grand Jury in March to decide whether criminal charges should be filed.

Hilson’s statement said that the charges against DePerno Rendon and his office were authorized by an “independent citizens grand jury” and that his office made no recommendations.

These charges were made on the same day that Trump was accused by the U.S. Justice Department of conspiracy to defraud and other counts in his attempt to reverse the results of 2020’s presidential election. Former president Trump is also under investigation for alleged election interference in Georgia.

According to documents released by Nessel’s Office last year, in Michigan, five tabulators for counting votes were illegally removed from three counties and taken to a hotel. Investigators discovered that the tabulators had been broken into, and tests were conducted on the equipment. DePerno has been named as the “prime perpetrator” in this case.

Nessel’s office requested a special prosecutor because she ran against DePerno 2022. Hilson was appointed to the case by the Prosecuting attorneys Coordinating Council.

The charges were delayed in part because prosecutors sought clarification from the judge on what constitutes illegal ownership of a voting device. Some defendants claimed that clerks in their locality had given them permission to remove the voting machines.

Last month, a state judge ruled that taking a machine from the Secretary’s Office without permission or a court order is a crime punishable by five years of prison.

Nessel, in a separate investigation last month, announced eight criminal cases against each of 16 Republicans she claimed had submitted false certificates as voters for the then-President Trump, a state Joe Biden was elected to.

Forgery and conspiracy for election fraud are included in the charges. Kathy Berden is the head of Michigan’s Republican National Committee chapter and Meshawn Maddock, the former cochair of Michigan Republican Party.

Maddock entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment on Thursday. Berden will be arraigned in court on August 10.