Charges for 4 Congressional staffers in McCotter campaign petition signature scandal

AG says signatures were a bad cut & paste job

(WXYZ) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced a slew of charges Thursday against four people allegedly involved in filing fake nominating petition signatures for former U.S. Congressman Thaddeus McCotter.

These were the petition signatures required to put McCotter on the ballot as a candidate for re-election in the Eleventh Congressional District.

Schuette called the scandal "a mess" and "a fiasco."

McCotter resigned from Congress earlier this year.

"The citizens of the Eleventh District were stiffed," Schuette said during a morning press conference.

The Attorney General showed graphics where he said signatures from 2006 petitions were exactly reproduced on 2012 documents.

Schuette called these copies, "Cut and paste jobs that would make an elementary art teacher cringe."

McCotter's former Deputy District Director, Don Yowchuang, is charged with 17 counts total; 10 counts of election law forgery, 1 count of conspiracy and 6 counts of falsely signing a nominating petition.

The former Congressman's District Director Paul Seewald is charged with 10 counts total; 1 count of conspiracy and nine counts of falsely signing a nomination petition.

District Representative Mary Melissa Turnbull is charged with two counts total; one count of conspiracy and one count of falsely signing a nomination petition.

Former Scheduler Lorianne O'Brady is charged with five counts of falsely signing a nominating petition.

The investigation started after a state worker noticed fake signatures on the petitions meant to place former Congressman McCotter on the ballot for 11th Congressional District. The finding resulted in McCotter's resignation , and took him off the ballot.

In the past, McCotter has said that he is not sure whether someone with his campaign "panicked or plotted" when they put down fake signatures.  He has said he is innocent of any involvement.

"If you break the law, there are consequences," Schuette said at Thursday's press conference.

"It doesn't matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat," he stressed. Both McCotter and Schuette are Republicans.

After the announcement, McCotter released this statement:

"I thank the Attorney General and his office for their earnest, thorough work on this investigation, which I requested, and their subsequent report.

For my family and I, this closure commences our embrace of the enduring blessings of private life."

When he resigned in July, McCotter released a lengthy and unusual statement that contained lyrics to a Bob Dylan song.

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