Two Trump allies in Michigan have been charged in an investigation into the improper acquisition of voting machines in 2020 as part of an attempt to overturn the presidential election.
Matthew DePerno, whom Donald Trump endorsed in his unsuccessful campaign for attorney general last year, and former state Representative Daire Rendon were both charged Monday, according to online court records.
DePerno, whose name was misspelled as “DeParno” in the records, was charged with two counts of undue possession of a voting machine, one count of conspiracy for undue possession of a voting machine, and one count of conspiracy for unauthorized access. Rendon was charged with one count of conspiracy for undue possession of a voting machine and one count of false pretenses.
State Attorney General Dana Nessel launched the investigation in February last year. But she handed the reins to special prosecutor D.J. Hilson a few months later after DePerno, who was running against Nessel for attorney general, came under scrutiny.
Other people still under investigation include Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf and Doug Logan, the former head of Cyber Ninjas, a pro-Trump data security firm that oversaw a controversial (and, as it turns out, entirely unnecessary) 2020 election review in Arizona.
The charges against Rendon and DePerno relate to attempts by Trump allies to acquire voting machines. There are investigations into similar efforts across the country, as pro-Trump activists tried to access the voting data and prove the election had been rigged against the former president. One such investigation is in Georgia and could factor into the highly anticipated indictment of Donald Trump for trying to overturn the state’s election results.
In Michigan, four clerks in three different counties gave voting machines to third parties. The machines were taken to Detroit, where a group of men broke into them and performed “tests” on them, according to Nessel’s office. The group returned the machines weeks or even months later, after the clerks became nervous.
Nessel has been steadily cracking down on election deniers. Last month, she charged 16 people, including top members of the state’s Republican Party, with felony for pretending to be electors in the 2020 presidential election.