LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Wyoming Mayor Kent Vanderwood has been formally charged with several felonies for sending documents to the federal government in an apparent attempt to redirect Michigan’s 2020 electoral votes.
Kent Vanderwood, 69, of Wyoming, appeared in a Lansing courtroom via video call Friday morning to be arraigned on charges of conspiracy to commit forgery, two counts of forgery, conspiracy to commit uttering and publishing, uttering and publishing, conspiracy to commit election law forgery and two counts of election law forgery.
Asked if he understood the charges against him and the possible penalties, Vanderwood replied, “Yes, your honor.”
Vanderwood is among 16 people accused of meeting in December 2020 to sign a document saying they were Michigan’s electors and directing the state’s votes to former President Donald Trump. That document was sent to the U.S. Senate and the National Archives. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office says it was an attempt to unlawfully send Michigan’s electoral votes to Trump when they, in fact, went to President Joe Biden.
In a statement sent to News 8 Friday morning, Vanderwood’s attorney Brian Lennon of Warner Norcoss + Judd called the attorney general’s allegations “completely off base” and said the evidence would not bear those allegations out.
“Mr. Vanderwood had no intent to defraud anyone or any organization when he signed the Certificate of Votes of the 2020 Electors from Michigan during the time when lawsuits challenging the 2020 presidential election were pending in Michigan,” Lennon stated.
“(W)e fully expect that the weakness of the prosecution’s case will begin to be exposed at the preliminary hearing, and in the end, Mr. Vanderwood will be fully vindicated,” Lennon continued.
Lennon touted Vanderwood as a “lifelong community service who has tirelessly dedicated himself to the various causes he supports in West Michigan and Beyond,” calling him a “man of integrity.”
The charges have no immediate effect on Vanderwood’s status as mayor and his attorney said he will not step down.
“Mayor Vanderwood will not resign or voluntarily recuse himself from the important and completely unrelated work he is required to perform as the duly-elected Mayor of the City of Wyoming,” Lennon wrote.
Other defendants in the case include Republican National Committeewoman Kathy Berden, former Michigan Republican Party Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock and Stanley Grot, who was stripped of his election duties as clerk of Shelby Township in Macomb County after the charges were filed last month.