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Attorney charged in voting machine tampering case announces run for Michigan Supreme Court

LANSING (AP) — An attorney charged in connection with an effort to illegally access and tamper with voting machines in Michigan after the 2020 election said Thursday that he’s running for the state’s high court.

Republican Matthew DePerno, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, made the announcement on the social platform X.

“After watching the abuse of our legal system both here in Michigan, as well as across the country, it is clear that the Michigan Supreme Court needs members that are committed to following the constitution and rule of law,” DePerno wrote.

“Activist judges, prosecutors, and attorney generals are using their power to prosecute their political enemies,” he continued. “This has to stop. And that is why I am running for Supreme Court.”

DePerno, who lost in a 2022 bid for Michigan attorney general, was arraigned last summer on undue possession of a voting machine and conspiracy charges. Daire Rendon, a former Republican state representative, was charged with conspiracy to commit undue possession of a voting machine and false pretenses.

Five vote tabulators were illegally taken from three Michigan counties and brought to a hotel room, according to documents released in 2022 by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office. Investigators found that the tabulators were broken into and “tests” were performed on the equipment. DePerno was named as a “prime instigator” in the case.

A state judge has ruled that it is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, to take a machine without a court order or permission directly from the secretary of state’s office.

DePerno’s case has not gone to trial and he has denied wrongdoing.

Because Nessel ran against DePerno in 2022, her office cited a conflict of interest, requested — and was granted — a special prosecutor in the case.

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said Thursday in a statement about DePerno that “his disdain for democracy and reproductive freedom make him a direct threat to our legal system.”

“Matt DePerno is unfit to serve on the highest court in the state,” Barnes said. “The stakes have never been higher for these supreme court races – if Trump’s MAGA loyalists are elected, they will do everything in their power to drag our state backward.”

DePerno is running for a partial-term seat currently held by a Democratic-backed judge. He will compete against Alexandria Taylor and Patrick O’Grady for the Republican Party’s nomination at the August convention.

Michigan’s Democratic Party executive committee has endorsed Justice Kyra Harris Bolden and attorney and law professor Kimberly Ann Thomas for the state supreme court.

Michigan is just one of at least three states where prosecutors say people breached election systems while embracing and spreading Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

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