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Charges to Be Filed Against 4 of Thaddeus McCotter's Former Staffers in Election Fraud Case

The charges were announced Thursday morning by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Thursday that charges will be filed against four of Thaddeus McCotter's former campaign staffers in connection with a bizarre election fraud scandal that led to the former U.S. Congressman's resignation.

McCotter is not expected to be charged.

The staffers are accused of cutting and pasting duplicate signatures while falsifying others for McCotter's re-election petition to get on the August 2012 primary ballot. Had he made the primary ballot, McCotter would have run against as the Republican incumbent to represent Michigan's 11th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

When the petition was thrown out by the Secretary of State's office, McCotter announced , . Not long after, McCotter resigned the remainder of his term, citing the the election had taken on him. Bentivolio, the only Republican on the primary ballot, ultimately won the election against several write-in Republican candidates, including Nancy Cassis and the Rev. Drexel Morton.

The Detroit Free Press reports that four former staffers from McCotter's Livonia office face several misdemeanor and felony charges:

  • Don Yowchuang of Farmington Hills, district deputy director, faces 17 counts: 10 counts of election law forgery, one count of conspiracy and six counts of falsely signing a nominating petition.
  • Paul Seewald of Livonia, district director, faces 10 counts: one count of conspiracy and nine counts of falsely signing a nomination petition.
  • Lori Anne O’Brady of Livonia, scheduler, faces one count of conspiracy and one count of falsely signing a nomination petition.
  • Mary Melissa Turnbull of Howell faces five counts of falsely signing a nominating petition.

Schuette, in a press conference this morning, said that the staff workers likely also committed the same petition frauds in the 2008 election, using 2006 signatures, the Free Press reports.

"In any position of public trust, the elected official has a duty to be engaged or involved," he said, according to WXYZ-TV's coverage of the press conference. Schuette accused McCotter of being "asleep at the switch."

Schuette said that if anyone else was found to be involved, that his office would not hesitate to charge them, WXYZ.com reports.

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