Michigan attorney general drops charges against a fake elector who agrees to ‘cooperate fully’

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office has dismissed the charges against one of the 16 people who allegedly signed a document falsely claiming that Donald Trump won the state’s electoral votes in 2020 during an effort to overturn the results of the election.

The decision came after the alleged fake elector, James Renner, agreed to “cooperate fully” with the attorney general’s investigation.

Renner was charged with eight felony counts, including election law forgery and conspiracy to commit election law forgery. During a court hearing on Thursday morning, Assistant Attorney General LaDonna Logan moved to drop all charges against Renner “based on an agreement between the parties.”

Technically, presidents are voted in by slates of electors who cast their votes for the candidates selected by their states’ popular votes. As Trump attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, his allies readied slates of electors in multiple states.

The group of 16 Republicans met in the basement of the Michigan GOP headquarters in December 2020 where they signed a certificate stating they were the state’s “duly elected and qualified electors,” prosecutors said.

“That was a lie,” prosecutors said in the charging documents, adding “they weren’t the duly elected and qualified electors, and each of the defendants knew it.”

A copy of the cooperation agreement with Renner, obtained by NBC News, shows he promised to “cooperate fully” with the attorney general’s office on October 10, agreeing to testify at trial and key hearings if called, and provide investigators with “any and all relevant documents.”

The document indicates Renner promised to provide information connected to the key Dec. 14, 2020, meeting where the fake elector certificates were signed.

Specifically, Renner has agreed to provide information related to Renner being called and asked to appear at Michigan Republican Party headquarters, appearing at MIGOP Headquarters and attending a meeting for the “Republican Slate,” as well as Renner identifying leaders of the meeting and other attendees, signing the “2020 Republican Slate” document and circumstances regarding him walking to the Capitol on December, according to the document.

Renner’s attorney Clint Westbrook declined to comment on the details of the agreement but confirmed “all charges against our innocent client, Jim Renner, were dismissed.” “We are excited for this result,” he said in court.

James Renner.Bill Pugliano / Getty Images file

The Michigan attorney general’s office also declined to comment on the details of the agreement.

Michigan was the first state to charge individuals for their alleged involvement in attempting to join a slate of “fake electors” as electoral counts were tallied in state capitols across the country following the 2020 election. 

All 16 defendants initially pleaded not guilty.

President Joe Biden won the state of Michigan in 2020 by more than 150,000 votes.

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