Former Congressman Thaddeus McCotter testifies in petition scandal that led to his resignation

LIVONIA, Mich. (WXYZ) - Former Congressman Thaddeus McCotter testified under oath Thursday in the court case that brought his long-time run in Congress to a swift end in scandal.

McCotter resigned after two of his staffers, Don Yowchuang and Paul Seewald, were accused of submitting forged nomination petitions earlier this year in McCotter's re-election bid.

McCotter says it was Michigan's Secretary of State Ruth Johnson herself who called him and told him about the problems. He then confronted his staff.

"My number one question was we were told we had 2000 valid signatures, why would we do this," testified McCotter.

McCotter says he had been told all along by his team that the campaign had more than the required 1000 valid signatures; that in fact they had some 2000 and there was not any problem.

Yowchuang faces two felonies and six misdemeanors and Seewald faces one felony and nine misdemeanors.

Two female staffers are also charged and their cases are being handled separately.

Seewald's attorney Mark Mandell says the attorney general's office has been "over zealous" with the charges.

Prosecutors submitted interviews with the two defendants in which they seem to admit they knew they broke the law.

The attorney general's office says signatures collected from previous campaigns were turned in.

Prosecutors also allege that photocopies were made of signatures collected this year and were then submitted along with the originals to make it seem as if there were enough valid signatures.

"My questions is why were we short when we were told we were done," McCotter testified. "It's so routine."

McCotter is not charged in the case, and declined to answer any questions when he left court.

Today's preliminary hearing was held to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial.

Judge Sean Kavanagh says he will make the decision October 23rd.

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