Conspiracy charges possible for filing fake Trump election slates: legal experts

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Legal experts are weighing in with their perspectives on the possibility of criminal charges being brought against those who filed fake election certificates in favor of former President Donald Trump.

According to NBC News, some Trump supporters are facing scrutiny after filing Electoral College votes for Trump in states that actually voted in favor of President Joe Biden. Republicans in seven battleground states —Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin— reportedly sent the fake certificates to Washington, D.C.

Last month, attorneys general in Michigan and New Mexico forwarded their investigative findings to the U.S. Department of Justice. Lisa Monaco, the DOJ's deputy attorney general, has confirmed that the documents provided are currently under review. “Our prosecutors are looking at those, and I can’t say anything more on ongoing investigations,” Monaco said.

So, could the investigations lead to charges? According to two legal experts, it's possible. Edward Foley, an election law expert at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, offered two different perspectives on the situation. While he believes "the government generally should not criminalize the act of sending a document to Congress, which he said is the kind of political expression protected by the First Amendment," he also noted that "charges might be appropriate if it turns out there was a coordinated effort to send in the alternative slates."

Matt Sanderson, a Washington lawyer and Republican representative, also weighed in saying "the purported Trump electors might have committed the crime of making false statements by signing documents describing themselves as the 'duly elected and qualified' presidential electors from their states and by claiming that they met to vote at their state capitols, although some were actually turned away."

So far, the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol has subpoenaed 14 individuals in connection with the fake election certificates. Those individuals were reportedly "listed as the chairperson and the secretary of each group of alternative electors."

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who serves as the committee chairman, said the panel believes it has “information about how these so-called alternate electors met and who was behind that scheme.”

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