The Michigan attorney general on Monday warned people alleging vote fraud that false claims are subject to criminal prosecution.
And that, according to constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley, is “akin to the state health director encouraging everyone to come in for a check up but warning that some will be subject to euthanasia.”
“The invitation is lost in the lingering threat,” wrote Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University.
The Hill reported Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel waws responding on Twitter to former state Republican state Sen. Patrick Colbeck discussing allegations of vote fraud during a Michigan Board of State Canvassers meeting that ended with the state’s election results being certified.
Colbeck was asked at the meeting whether he had brought his allegations to the state attorney general.
The report said Nessel claimed Colbeck has never made a complaint of election fraud to her office.
Nessel tweeted, “Colbeck’s assertions aside, intentionally making a false claim of criminal activity to law enforcement is itself a crime.”
Turley noted Nessel has been threatening people who post videos on alleged vote fraud.
“These threats are coercive and abusive, particularly when targeting opponents of your party who are challenging the victory of your candidate for president,” he wrote.
“Yet, as shown by a congressman seeking to disbar dozens of Trump lawyers, such threats are popular in today’s rage-filled politics. So, Nessel continued her threats of prosecution on Monday in warning that a former state senator could be prosecuted for alleging possible voter fraud at a meeting of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers. So, raising voting fraud at the board overseeing voting is now a possible basis for prosecution in Michigan.”
Turley noted Colbeck said he had submitted affidavits to lawyers who were moving the allegations up the chain to the attorney general’s office.
“Of course, many Republicans in the state may be a tad reluctant to reach out to Nessel given her threats of prosecution against citizens and legislators alike,” Turley explained. “As if to fulfill that view, Nessel immediately responded with yet another threat of prosecution.”
Turley said Nessel’s threat “is directed not just at Colbeck but those who signed these affidavits.”
“In other words, you must submit your allegations of fraud to me but I may prosecute you if you submit your allegations of fraud to me. Hardly an inviting prospect,” he said.
“I tend to view these stories from the perspective of a criminal defense attorney. These citizens are coming forward to allege what they believe were instances of voter fraud. They may be wrong in what they perceived or what they believe is fraud. However, we want voters to feel free to come forward. Affidavits are signed on penalty of perjury. There are cases of such perjury cases or false police reports that are prosecuted. However, one would think that Nessel would be encouraging submissions of such complaints to her office, not threatening those who may do so,” he wrote.
Turley observed that while “the Democrats and the media continue to raise threats against democracy, they are entirely oblivious to the implications Nessel’s use of the criminal code to threat those who question the victory of Joe Biden.”
“They are equally silent (as is Biden himself) on a campaign of threats and intimidation against both lawyers and legislators questioning the election. It is part of a toxic atmosphere where Democratic members are calling for blacklists and others denounce any questioning of the Biden victory as akin to ‘Holocaust denial,'” he said.
“Nessel adds a particularly menacing element to this campaign in her use of her office to threaten prosecution against those who post videos on voting fraud, legislators who raise objections to the certification, or even voters who allege improprieties. Yet, she cannot understand why anyone would fail to contact her with allegations of voting irregularities,” he wrote.
The Law and Crime website reported Nessel’s threats were becoming routine.
Just days earlier, the report said, Nessel had threatened to look into whether bribery and perjury criminal investigations should be launched into state GOP leaders.
Their possible offense? Planning to meet with President Trump to review the vote certification process and determine whether there was evidence of fraud.
Experts cited by the website said there needed to be evidence for Nessel to proceed.
UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh said: “Well, bribery is a crime, so if someone was bribed, that warrants a criminal prosecution – but is there any actual evidence? Perjury is a crime, so if someone perjured himself, that warrants a criminal prosecution – but is there any actual evidence? Rescinding one’s vote, of course, isn’t a crime.”
Volokh described Nessel’s comments as “saber-rattling.”
Michigan is one of several states swing states in which witnesses have come forward with sworn statements alleging fraud in the presidential election. The statements form the basis of Trump campaign lawsuits challenging the results in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia.