Michigan’s Trump Electors – No Criminal Intent

Michigan’s Trump Electors – No Criminal Intent

In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, electors from seven states, including Michigan, set the stage that if it turned out that President Donald Trump won the popular vote, the Electoral College votes would be cast on his behalf. These individuals are currently facing a range of criminal and civil repercussions.

In total, 16 individuals from Michigan allegedly signed legal documents on December 14, 2020, which were allegedly submitted to the National Archives and the United States Senate in hopes of overturning Joe Biden’s victory. The preliminary examinations of the second round of Republican electors began in the final week of May 2024. Here’s what’s happened so far.

Undercutting the Attorney General’s Intent to Defraud Claims

During the witness examination on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, one of the defense’s attorneys suggested that their clients may not have seen or read the false certificate, but were merely presented with the signature page.

The defense team, which includes former federal prosecutor John Freeman, is seeking to poke holes in Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s argument that the electors intended to defraud the people of Michigan. The electors’ legal team also includes David Kallman, who represents Hank Choate.

Freeman and Kallman are highly experienced criminal defense lawyers with a history of fiercely fighting for their clients. 

How Kallman Established Uncertainty During Questioning

The false certificate alleging Trump won the electorate in Michigan is the attorney general’s foundational piece of evidence in the case against the electors. Kallman examined Dan Schwager, who held the position of general counsel for the secretary of the U.S. Senate in 2020. Kallman asked, “You have no information that Hank Choate ever saw that page prior to his signing page four?”

In response, Schwager said, “The information that I have is that whoever signed that page signed it under a statement that says ‘in witness whereof.’” However, the signature page is separate from the key document on the election certificate that contains arguments contesting the election results.

How Freeman Capitalized on These Doubts

On the second day of the hearings, Howard Shock, a Michigan attorney general special agent investigator, took the stand. For five days, Shock has faced a series of tough questions from the electors’ defense team. Freeman has led the attack, firing away questions that have fueled doubts about Shock’s competency.

Assistant Attorney General LaDonna Logan objected to several of Freeman’s questions, but Judge Kristen Simmons overruled many of her complaints. Judge Simmons also expressed concerns “about the investigation and [Shock’s] ability to put forth information from that investigation.” She had to break twice within the first hour of questioning so that Shock could “refresh his recollection.”

During questioning, Shock revealed that he had pending subpoenas or search warrants for information in the case. He also admitted to Freeman — on record — that the electors’ intent to commit a crime was not absolute.

Shock is definitely feeling the pressure, and Freeman is showcasing the unique poise that comes from spending more than 30 years as a criminal lawyer, including seven years as a federal prosecutor.

What’s Next for the Michigan Electors?

If the attorney general’s team convinces the presiding judge that there is probable cause to support the charges, these electors may face a criminal trial. However, Freeman, Kallman, and the rest of the defense’s legal team have significantly eroded Judge Simmons’ confidence in Shock’s credibility and competence, which could lend itself to a favorable outcome for the electors.

The case against Michigan’s electors illustrates the importance of having a skilled criminal defense attorney in your corner during legal proceedings. Knowing your rights can make all the difference when facing allegations of criminal acts.