One of 16 Republicans accused of a “fake voter” scheme in Michigan after the 2020 election has indicated he is remorseful for his involvement, according to a New York Times report.
James Renner, 77, is the only one of the 16 defendants to have his charges dropped after he and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s (D) office agreed to a cooperation agreement in October.
The other 15 defendants pleaded not guilty in August to eight counts, alleging they signed false certificates in an attempt to shift the state’s Electoral College votes to former President Trump rather than current President Biden.
According to a recording of Renner’s interview with the state attorney general’s office obtained by The New York Times, he told the office he realized he and others allegedly involved had acted inappropriately after having reviewed testimony from the House investigation into the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack.
“I cannot emphasize enough that after reading the information contained in the J6 transcripts, I was distressed that due process had not been followed,” Renner told the DA’s office state general, according to the Times. “I felt like I was put in a situation that I should never have been involved in.”
Renner, a former state trooper and retired businessman, was put on the voter rolls in December 2020 after being contacted by the head of the Clinton County, Michigan, Republican Party when two others abandoned their positions days before Dec. 14, 2020, the Times reported. .
He had never been a voter before, although he volunteered as a Republican Party activist in Clinton County, the Times said.
Renner told investigators he realized he “knew nothing about the election process” when he arrived at the Dec. 14, 2020, meeting.
“I accepted that the people in authority” knew “what they were talking about,” he reportedly said during the interview.
Renner said it was only after reviewing the House transcripts and due process information for voters that he “realized that, hey, there is a formal process authorized by the State for this” and that what happened “was not legitimate”.
“I’ve never been a voter, I’ve never discussed it with anyone,” Renner said. “I was used to a much more informal process at the county level. And that’s when I started to become suspicious of what had happened.
Renner told investigators he was “very upset” and felt “betrayed, to put it mildly.” That’s all I can say,” according to the Times report.
The Hill has contacted the Michigan Attorney General’s Office for further comment.
Kathy Berden, a Republican National Committee member from Michigan, is among the defendants, some of whom said they were unaware of what they were signing. Others said they believed signing the certification was in case a future court overturned the decision.
Special counsel Jack Smith referenced this bogus election scheme in the Justice Department’s indictment against Trump in August for his attempts to stay in power after losing the 2020 election.
Smith alleged that Trump’s team attempted to persuade Republican voters to sign their names on an alternative certificate in order to create a “fake controversy” that would provide a reason for then-Vice President Mike Pence to void electoral votes when the results are certified on January 6. , 2021. Pence did not agree to the plan.
Alleged bogus voters are also facing charges in Georgia and Nevada, while investigations are underway in New Mexico, Wisconsin, Arizona and Pennsylvania.
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