Michigan ‘fake elector’ for Trump testifies in court, says he never intended to forge public records

(LANSING, Mich.) — One of 16 Republicans who allegedly acted as “fake electors” for former President Donald Trump in Michigan after the 2020 presidential election testified in state court Wednesday that he never intended to falsely make or alter a public record.

James Renner and his alleged co-conspirators were charged by the Michigan Attorney General in July with charges including forgery and conspiracy to commit election forgery for allegedly attempting to replace Michigan’s electoral votes for Joe Biden with electoral votes for Trump at the certification of the vote on Jan. 6, 2021.

Renner, who had his case dismissed by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel for cooperating with the case in October, said in a hearing at Ingham County District Court in Lansing Wednesday that if he had thought that a crime was being committed, he would’ve never agreed to go to a meeting with the other suspects on Dec.14, 2020.

The 16 suspects allegedly met “covertly” in the basement of the Michigan Republican Party headquarters and signed their names to multiple certificates stating they were the duly elected electors, according to prosecutors. The forged documents were then submitted to the U.S. Senate and the National Archives.

“I would have challenged it because my background is enforcing the law,” Renner said when asked by an attorney if he would have spoken up at the meeting with the rest of the so-called “fake electors.”

Renner was asked to testify by the prosecution as part of a preliminary hearings held this week for some of the people facing charges for allegedly serving as false electors.

“The purpose was to present the slate of candidates because we were told that the representatives and senators had the ability to accept our slate of candidates versus the Democrats slate of candidates,” Renner testified.

At one point during a hearing, Kahla Crino, a Michigan assistant attorney general, said that a 1960 Hawaii case became the “inspiration” for the so-called fake electors in multiple states.

Crino’s comments followed one defense attorney’s mention of the election in which then-Vice President Richard Nixon, in his capacity as president of the Senate, certified Hawaii’s electoral votes that went to his opponent in the presidential race, John F. Kennedy, after a recount in the state.

“This became the inspiration for a multi-state criminal conspiracy that was absolutely linked to the Trump campaign,” Crino said.

Trump has not commented on the Michigan case.

The state is still pursuing charges against the other 15 defendants. All the defendants pleaded not guilty including Renner.

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