State rep.: Giuliani’s voter fraud claims ‘just insane’

Elections

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — State Rep. David LaGrand, D-Grand Rapids, said the allegations of voter fraud put forth by President Donald Trump’s legal team don’t add up.

Rudy Giuliani, the attorney leading Trump’s legal challenge against the outcome of the Nov. 3 election, addressed the Michigan House Oversight Committee Wednesday evening, saying the election was stolen from Trump. 

He brought election volunteers and workers who repeated unsubstantiated claims of fraud at the absentee counting board in Detroit.

“(Giuliani) seems to have a basic problem with math. I don’t know how else to put it,” LaGrand, a member of the Oversight Committee, told News 8 Thursday. “His opening statement, he said, ‘There were 700,000 fraudulent votes cast in Detroit.’ Well, that’s just insane. I don’t know what else to say. There were 250,000 votes tabulated in Detroit. Unless he’s saying that secretly, they recorded 450,000 and then lost them, on top of the 250,000 we know about. And the 250,000 we know about is entirely consistent with the numbers we got out of 2016, and it’s consistent with about a 50% turnout in a city with a 500,000 registered voter number, which is consistent with a population size of a city like Detroit.”

“I don’t doubt that there are moments of ugliness. I also don’t doubt that there are human errors that are committed, just like my bank teller doesn’t always count my money properly, and I don’t always count my money properly, and I don’t always balance my checkbook properly,” LaGrand continued. “But it doesn’t add up.”

His firm questioning Wednesday has resulted in threats against his life, but LaGrand said he recognizes his privilege.

“I went home and my Facebook page was just blown up with hatred and hostility, but you know so what? So what. I have people who love me and I have a supportive community and I have reserve capacity,” he said. “But I also — I can’t be targeted by racist attacks the way that my African American colleagues can and I can’t be targeted by sexist attacks the way that my female colleagues can or, you know, by homophobic attacks. I’m not part of the groups of people that America persecutes, right? I’m part of the group of America that gets to be CEOs of companies and so, I just have to — shame on me if I get too uptight about my persecution, right?”

LaGrand credited his Republican colleagues on the committee who also posed questions that pointed to inconsistencies in the testimony. For instance, Rep. Steve Johnson, R-Wayland, who questioned the excessive ballot tabulation accusation.

News 8 reached out to Johnson, who celebrated his 30th birthday Wednesday, but was told he wasn’t available for an interview.

“I have so many Republican colleagues who I love, cherish, respect, am convinced of their integrity. And that is the vast majority of them, the vast majority. I work with these folks every day and they are reasonable people who are trying to do good policy. So, I hope that the circus has now left town and we can all go back to work. That’s really what I think,” LaGrand said.

AG NESSEL: ‘YOU HAVE EMBARRESED OUR STATE’

All along, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, has urged anyone with legitimate evidence of election fraud to make her office aware so it can investigate. And though people have put forth all sorts of allegations during two legislative committee hearings this week, none have filed a formal complaint with Nessel’s office or other law enforcement entities.

The lack of pursuing an avenue that could lead to criminal prosecution prompted a round of tweets Thursday.

In an interview about her scathing posts, Nessel said if people don’t trust her to investigate, they could go to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office or the U.S. Attorney in southeast Michigan, who is a Trump appointee.

“Any of these law enforcement entities would then do a comprehensive and thorough investigation,” Nessel told News 8 Thursday. “If any of these criminal allegations had merit, why would they not have gone to one of the three law enforcement agencies that have prosecutorial oversight? Any of these law enforcement entities would then do a comprehensive and thorough investigation and if it was found that there was evidence to support these claims, absolutely all three of us would be in a position to bring charges and would bring charges.”

Nessel pointed to previous cases she’s brought since taking office, like the Southfield clerk charged with falsifying election records

“These claims have to be evaluated in that light and that’s why it’s really upsetting me so much because I really do think it does great damage to our democracy and it undermines people’s confidence because they think there’s all this fraud out there even though all of these claims, each and every one of these claims, have been debunked in a court of law. Both by democratically-appointed judges and by republican judges,” the AG said.

Most of the concerns raised by those who addressed the committees and by Trump himself have already been explained as normal election processes. Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck discussed that clarification Wednesday with News 8.

Democrat Joe Biden won Michigan by about 145,000 votes, giving him the state’s 16 electoral votes on his path to a nationwide victory.

House Oversight Committee Chair Matt Hall, R-Marshall, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, did not respond to Thursday requests for comment from News 8.

If statements are sent, they will be added to this report.

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