Prosecutors should charge the 59 Republicans who submitted phony electoral college certificates as part of Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, which was won by Joe Biden.
"Those representations were lies," 40-year attorney Phlip Rotner wrote for The Bulwark.
"Biden, not Trump, had won the elections in each of those states. In each of those states, Biden’s victory had been certified by the officials given clear statutory authority to do so," he wrrote. "In short, the individuals who signed the documents certifying that they were the 'duly elected and qualified' electors from their states were not. Their certificates were fraudulent, full stop. No doubt or ambiguity about it."
In Arizona, eleven people signed the phony electoral college certificate. Sixteen signed it in both Georgia and Michigan. Six were submitted from Nevada and ten from Wisconsin.
"The fraudulent scheme did not end with the signatures of the phony electors. Far from it. In each of the five states, the would-be electors transmitted the phony certificates to federal officials as their state’s 'electoral votes for President and Vice President.' Again, false," he explained. "It is astonishing that more than a year after the certification of the 2020 presidential election, public attention has only now begun to focus intensely on these phony GOP state certifications. They are not just deplorable political acts of subversion. They are criminal acts."
Rotner explained how individual states should've held the GOP officials to account for the fraudulent documents.
"State and federal law enforcement should have been all over this for almost a year now. Worse, even for those inclined to think 'better late than never,' it’s still not clear that they are on it now," he wrote. "Start with state law. As you can imagine, every state in the union has criminal laws prohibiting all forms of election fraud. For present purposes, one example will suffice: In Arizona, a person who knowingly forges or counterfeits returns of an election is guilty of a 'class 3 felony,' the minimum penalty for which is two and a half years in prison."
Rotner noted that it appears the effort was coordinated, which could provide further legal jeopardy for those involved in the conspiracy.
"These phony certifications were not isolated, one-off events. They were highly coordinated. A single glance at the five phony certificates shows that they are nearly identical in format and text, right down to the fonts. The strong implication: Somebody somewhere was running this show," he wrote. "The involvement of top Trump administration and campaign officials in this effort looks deep and wide. It’s the job of the January 6th House committee and (hopefully) the Department of Justice to put together all that information, and presumably journalists will continue to dig into it. But as of now, it sure looks like Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, was right in the middle of election-fraud effort."
Rotner said the effort to impede the electoral count may have violated 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2), 52 U.S.C. § 20511, 18 U.S.C. § 371, 18 U.S.C. § 1001, and 52 U.S.C. §10307.
"f federal prosecutors are already investigating these crimes, they have done a bang-up job of keeping it secret. It has been a year since the phony certificates came to light, and the criminal case to be made is not complicated," he explained. "It’s not as if we don’t know the identity of the culprits—the signers of the fraudulent certificates are all identified on the face of the documents. The individuals who transmitted them to the federal government signed their names to the transmittal memoranda. It’s all right there, wrapped up in a nice, tidy package that can be cut and pasted straight into an indictment."
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