Michigan Republican charged in false elector plot agrees to cooperation deal
Oct 19, 2023, 11:46 AM
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan Republican accused of participating in a fake elector plot had all criminal charges dropped Thursday after the state Attorney General’s office said a cooperation deal was reached.
The defendant, James Renner, was one of 16 Republicans who investigators say met following the 2020 presidential election and signed a document falsely stating they were the state’s “duly elected and qualified electors.” Michigan was one of seven states where supporters of then-President Donald Trump signed certificates that falsely stated he won their states.
President Joe Biden won Michigan by nearly 155,000 votes, a result confirmed by a GOP-led state Senate investigation in 2021.
In July, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that each of the 16 would face eight criminal charges, including multiple counts of forgery. All 16 had pleaded not guilty.
But on Thursday, the attorney general’s office announced during a court hearing in Ingham County that it would be dropping its case against Renner, who is 77 years old, based on “an agreement between the parties.”
Renner’s lawyer, Clint Westbrook, said in court that he and his client “were excited with this result.” Westbrook did not immediately return a phone call seeking further comment on the agreement.
In a statement sent to The Associated Press, the state Attorney General’s office said they “dismissed the case against James Renner under a cooperation agreement,” but did not elaborate on the deal.
The dropped charges come after Nessel, a Democrat, told a liberal group during a virtual event that the false electors had been “brainwashed” and “genuinely” believed Trump won in Michigan. Simmons dismissed requests from two defendants earlier this month to dismiss charges due to Nessel’s comments.