Pro-Trump elector didn’t suspect false election docs were illegal

Renner, who has served as a state GOP precinct delegate and volunteer, was asked to step in that day for another person who didn’t show. So far, he is the only false elector who agreed to cooperate with the Attorney General’s Office in exchange for dropping felony charges.

He said the group met at the Michigan Republican Party headquarters in Lansing to sign documents. They posed for a photo before meeting at the Radisson hotel in downtown Lansing and then walked to the state Capitol in an attempt to deliver the documents to the Senate. The group was blocked from entering the building.


Under questioning, Renner said he and others in the group were told “this was an appropriate process” that could result in lawmakers considering an alternate Republican slate of candidates alongside the Democratic slate, despite official election results showing President Joe Biden won the state by 154,188 votes.

If he’d suspected what they were doing wasn’t above board, Renner said he “would have challenged it.”

“My background was enforcing the law, not breaking the law,” said Renner, who worked for the Michigan State Police in the 1970s.

Renner’s testimony came as part of an ongoing preliminary examination that will determine whether six of the 15 false electors still facing charges — including former Michigan Republican Party Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock and Republican National Committeewoman Kathy Berden — will proceed to trial.

Additional hearing dates, as well as preliminary examinations for others charged in the case, will take place later this spring.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, announced felony charges against the GOP defendants in July 2023. They are accused of forging an official election document with the “intent to defraud” before the 2020 contest was certified on Jan. 6, 2021, and face forgery-related charges punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

False electors in Georgia and Nevada are also facing charges.

Defendants in the Michigan case contend they did not intend to commit any crime and thought they were offering a backup in case disputes over the election results were successful.

In previous testimony, former Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox said she tried to “put the brakes” on the plot to keep Trump in office and proposed an alternative ceremony to honor the GOP elector nominees, as well as a pledge to cast Electoral College votes for Donald Trump “if the election was overturned.”

On Tuesday, Troy Hudson, then-political director of the state Republican Party, confirmed that gathering happened and that a handful of Trump campaign operatives were in the building, but said he wasn’t present for the entire meeting and left before the document at issue in the case was signed.

In addition to Renner, District Court Judge Kristen Simmons has heard from former GOP officials, law enforcement and representatives of the Office of the Federal Register and the U.S. Senate who acknowledged receipt of false documents.


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