Trump-backed Michigan attorney general candidate was 'one of the prime instigators' in a plot to breach voting machines, AG says
- Michigan's AG is asking a special prosecutor to probe her Trump-backed opponent, Politico reports.
- GOP AG candidate Matt DePerno "orchestrated a coordinated plan" to breach voting machines, she said.
Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel is asking a special prosecutor to investigate her Trump-backed opponent for his role in a "coordinated plan" to breach voting machines, Politico reports.
Reuters reported on Sunday that Matthew DePerno led a team in accessing and possibly tampering with a ballot tabulator from Richfield Township in Roscommon County, a small county in northern Michigan that backed former President Donald Trump by 30 points in 2020.
DePerno, now the Republican nominee for attorney general in Michigan, presented the photograph and serial number of the Roscommon County tabulator, an Election Software & System DS200 scanner, in part of a lawsuit challenging the election results in a separate county, Reuters found.
Nessel, whose office has been investigating multiple instances of voting equipment breaches in Michigan for several months, asked for a special prosecutor to probe the breaches that DePerno is accused of leading in a court filing obtained by Politico.
In the petition, Nessel wrote that DePerno and three of his associates are accused of having "orchestrated a coordinated plan to gain access to voting tabulators" that were used in three counties.
Three of DePerno's associates, according to the petition, took the machines to hotels and Airbnbs where they "broke into the tabulators and performed 'tests' on the equipment" and "it was determined during the investigation that DePerno was present at a hotel room during such 'testing.'"
Nessel wrote that, following months of law enforcement investigation, "it is now time for a prosecutorial review for charges" including conspiracy, using a computer system to commit a crime, willfully damaging a voting machine, malicious destruction of a voting machine, fraudulent access to a computer or computer system, and false pretenses.
"When this investigation began there was not a conflict of interest," the filing explained in asking for a special prosecutor. "However, during the course of the investigation, facts were developed that DePerno was one of the prime instigators of the conspiracy."
The Roscommon County incident, which officials have been probing since at least February, is part of a larger pattern of breaches of voting technology and attacks on the integrity of voting equipment perpetrated by officials and activists hunting for evidence of election fraud, a growing trend in Michigan and across the country.
DePerno, an attorney, made a name for himself by leading the charge to challenge and overturn the 2020 election in Michigan, including leading a lawsuit against Antrim County and pushing for partisan post-election ballot reviews and "audits" in the state.
DePerno and another prominent election denier, Joe Oltmann, also participated in a meeting with a high-level official at the State Department on January 6, 2021, the day Trump's supporters breached the US Capitol to stop Congress from affirming the 2020 election results, the Washington Post previously reported.
"On January 6, 2021, I was in the State Department briefing Mike Pompeo's staff on how the election was stolen," DePerno later said on a candidate questionnaire for a pro-Trump group, according to the Post, adding: "(NOTE to reader: don't tell the Feds!)"
DePerno's efforts to find nonexistent widespread fraud in service of overturning the election earned him an enthusiastic endorsement from Trump, who has backed multiple election deniers for top statewide offices in key battleground states.
Trump lauded DePerno for having "defended the Constitution for 20 years," and said that DePerno "has been on the front lines pursuing fair and accurate elections, as he relentlessly fights to reveal the truth about the Nov. 3rd Presidential Election Scam."
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