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Schuette Announces First Conviction in McCotter Petition Scandal

courtesy Thaddeus McCotter

Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced a former scheduler has pleaded no contest to all charges she faced concerning her involvement in former Congressman Thaddeus McCotter’s petition scandal. There was no plea or sentencing agreement offered.

Lorianne O’Brady, 52, of Livonia, who worked as a scheduler to the former congressman, pleaded no contest today in Wayne County’s 16th District Court before Judge Kathleen J. McCann to five counts of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 25, 2012 in front of Judge McCann.

“As your Attorney General, I have a duty to enforce the law and ensure public integrity,” said Schuette. “After a thorough investigation, my office determined that criminal acts were committed, and the appropriate criminal charges were filed.

“Our office will continue to prosecute the remaining defendants involved in this shameful violation of the public trust.”

On August 9, 2012, Schuette announced the results of an investigation by the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Unit into the alleged fraud surrounding nominating petitions filed in May 2012 on behalf of former Congressman Thaddeus McCotter. At that announcement Schuette explained the former congressman was “asleep at the switch” and that four staff members were to face criminal charges.

Schuette alleges that members of McCotter’s Michigan staff were involved in a deliberate fraud involving a pattern of copying and altering petitions in order to qualify the five-term congressman for the 2012 Michigan ballot.

The other members of former Congressman Thaddeus McCotter’s Congressional Staff who face criminal charges for their alleged role in the scandal are:

Don Yowchuang, Deputy District Director, 33, of Farmington Hills – Scheduled to appear at a pre-exam conference on October 9, 2012 at 2:00p.m. and a preliminary exam on October 11, 2012 at 9:00a.m. in Livonia’s 16th District Court, where he faces 17 charges:

  • Ten counts of Election Law Forgery, a five-year felony;
  • One count of Conspiracy to Commit a Legal Act in an Illegal Manner, a five-year felony; and,
  • Six counts of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail.

Paul Seewald, District Director, 47, of Livonia – Scheduled to appear at a pre-exam conference on October 9, 2012 at 2:00p.m. and a preliminary exam on October 11, 2012 at 9:00a.m. in Livonia’s 16th District Court, where he faces ten charges:

  • One count of Conspiracy to Commit a Legal Act in an Illegal Manner, a five-year felony; and,
  • Nine counts of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail.

Mary Melissa Turnbull, District Representative, 58, of Howell – Scheduled to appear at a preliminary examination on September 27, 2012 at 8:30a.m. in Troy’s 52-4 District Court where she faces two charges:

  • One count of Conspiracy to Commit a Legal Act in an Illegal Manner, a five-year felony; and,
  • One count of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail.

Since being created in February, 2011 by Attorney General Schuette, the Public Integrity Unit has filed 207 charges against 36 defendants in various cases of corruption in state and local government. To date, the unit has secured convictions against 13 elected officials and public employees and continues to pursue convictions of 19 others.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

 

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